Nick Kyrgios' US Open campaign has been largely uneventful so far, but a telltale scent wafting across the court in Flushing Meadows left the Aussie star scratching his head.
After a relatively straightforward win over fellow Australian star Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round, Kyrgios' attention turned to Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.
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After winning a first set tiebreak, Kyrgios was locked in a second set battle with Bonzi at 4-4 when he complained to the umpire about the smell of cannabis in the arena during a change of ends.
Commentators noted the 27-year-old's complaint to the chair umpire, who suggested to Kyrgios that the smell may actually have been coming from the kitchens in the arena.
Kyrgios wasn't buying it though.
Despite telling the umpire that the smell of food coming through was something to be expected, no action was taken with any member of the crowd - though the chair umpire did remind spectators that smoking was not permitted in the arena.
ESPN commentators noted in support of Kyrgios that their on-court camera crews had also communicated to them that a smell of marijuana could be picked up on court.
"You don't want to remind people, not to do it?' Kyrgios asked the umpire.
"It wasn't the kitchen bro, it was marijuana. There's smoke, obviously I'm not going to complain about food smell.
"When athletes are running side to side and have asthma already, it's not a big deal, so..."
— DannyDanko (@DannyDanko) August 31, 2022
Nick Kyrgios is swearing at the umpire and accusing a fan of smoking marijuana courtside at the US Open. Never a dull moment when this guy is on court #USOpen
— Kevin Palmer (@RealKevinPalmer) August 31, 2022
Kyrgios claims someone is smoking marijuana in the stands so the umpire asks the crowd to "refrain from smoking".
— Yasmin Syed (@yasminstefsyed) August 31, 2022
#Kyrgios just complained to the chair umpire he could smell marijuana on court 🚬 🎾
— David Woiwod (@DavidWoiwod) August 31, 2022
Despite winning the second set 6-4, Kyrgios dropped the third set as he looks to replicate his run to the Wimbledon final at Flushing Meadows.
The world No.25 could potentially piece together a strong run in New York, not slated to faced a seeded opponent until a potential Australian Open rematch against Daniil Medvedev.
That will have to wait until he eases past the world No.50 Bonzi, with Kyrgios copping a code violation for swearing at his players' box after dropping the third set.
Nick Kyrgios aiming for strong US Open run after Kokkinakis victory
Kyrgios never wants to play Kokkinakis again after upstaging his grand slam-winning doubles partner to make a bittersweet start to his US Open title tilt.
Kyrgios broke Kokkinakis in each of the first two sets, then clinched the win in a tiebreaker to take bragging rights in the all-Australian affair 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-4) at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night.
But the Wimbledon runner-up says he took little pleasure from the victory over his great mate.
"Probably one of the most uncomfortable matches I've played in my career," Kyrgios said.
"When we both saw the draw, it was a nightmare, honestly. I feel like there's probably two players - two or three players - that after tennis I'm probably going to stay in contact with till I probably die, to be honest. Thanasi is one of them. It's just really hard."
Kyrgios said he even tried to block out Kokkinakis's body and just focus on the ball to avoid losing focus.
"That kind of helped me," he said. "In the first couple sets I played incredible from the back of the court.
"I had a real clear game plan of trying to move him as much as I could, not let him dictate. When the ball is on his racquet, he's dictating play, he's probably one of the best players in the world.
"I didn't want to be on the receiving end of that forehand tonight."
Kyrgios said knowing how well Kokkinakis had been playing this season after years of wretched injuries only compounded his anguish at having to face his friend in round one.
"I was telling some people I feel like he had a really good opportunity, the way his body is, the way he's holding up physically, his belief to play match after match. I thought he had an opportunity to go far in the draw," said the world No.25.
"Its unfortunate. The way I'm playing, the goals I have, I felt like I had a good opportunity in this tournament too.
"Look, it is what it is. I felt I dealt with it pretty professionally."
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