no one can find its source
On the second day after the opening of the US Open, which kicked off on August 28, marijuana began to smell: a pungent smell penetrated the outer court, interfered with the concentration of one of the best players in the world and created the impression that there was nowhere to go from the informal smell in the city, according to ABC7NY.
While the exact source of the smell remained a mystery on Tuesday, August 29, one thing was clear: Court 17, where Maria Sakkari complained about the haunting smell of marijuana during her first-round loss, had become infamous among players in recent years due to its characteristic and indescribable odour.
Under pressure from reports following the Sakkari match that the US Open stands were the sporting equivalent of a Phish concert, the US Tennis Association launched its own investigation to find out the source of the smell.
Snoop Dogg’s living room overlooking the park
Spokesman Chris Widmeier said the USTA interviewed officials and reviewed footage of the midday game and found “no evidence” of anyone smoking weed in the 17th court stands, leading to speculation that the smell could have come from Corona. Park, located outside the gates of the closed court of the stadium.
After losing to Rebecca Masarova 6:4, 6:4, Sakkari told reporters: “Sometimes you smell food, sometimes you smell cigarettes, sometimes you smell grass. I mean it’s something we can’t control because we’re in the open. There is a park behind. People can do whatever they want.”
On the subject: You can get free access to 500 New York tennis courts
“Court 17 definitely smells like Snoop Dogg’s living room,” said Alexander Zverev, who won his opening match on this court on Tuesday 29 August. “Oh my god, he’s everywhere. The whole court smelled of grass.”
Flushing Meadows security officer Ricardo Rojas, who worked on the net in front of Court 17 on Monday, said he took a break in the park during the Sakkari match and “there definitely smelled of weed.” However, he noted that while he enforces strict no-smoking rules at the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the park is outside his jurisdiction.
In New York City, adults 21 years of age and older may store up to 85 grams of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis for personal use, and may smoke or inhale cannabis where tobacco smoking is permitted.
Karma Court No. 17
Adam Placzek, who attended Monday’s game on Court 17 with two friends from Hartford, Connecticut, said he smelled marijuana but didn’t see anyone in the stands that could have smelled it. He admitted that he “drinks weed from time to time,” but it would never have occurred to him to smoke at the US Open.
Other players in years past have complained about the smell of weed coming from Court 17, a 2,500-seat arena opened in 2011 in the extreme southwest corner of the complex with a small fence from the park.
Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, who easily won her match on court 17 on Tuesday, told a similar story: “I smelled that too today. I think it’s only on the 17th court. This court is so far away, almost in the park. I think it comes from the park.” However, some fans at Flushing Meadows couldn’t get over the fact that the smell of weed could unsettle a top player.
“This is New York. It’s everywhere,” said fan Diana Patrizio of Southampton, New York, as she queued for Court 17. “There are so many distractions at the US Open. Focus on one thing and let it distract you? You just can’t do it.”
Rojas, a security official, says the smell of cannabis has become an inevitable fact of life. “When you turn the corner, you will smell this smell. Now it is part of our world. It takes some getting used to. What will he say to Sakkari or any other player who complains about weed during a world-class competition? Try it. It can help you relax,” he said.
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