Slovak star passes judgment on US Open tennis balls: “they’re fine.”
“The “serial sniffer” of tennis, Dominika Cibulkova has passed judgement on the balls at this edition of the US Open.
Like the grandest sommelier in a fine-dining establishment, the Slovak has a nose for the various aromas of various ball brands.
Though she went down 6-1, 6-3 to 2017 finalist Madison Keys in the fourth round, Domi was able to put her particular talent to use before making her exit at this edition of Flushing Meadows.
Before she left, the Slovak Pocket Rocket upset 2016 champion Algelique Kerber, the reigning Wimbledon champion.
The 29-year-old Cibulkova said she started checking out the odour of the balls at a young age and is now something of an informal connoisseur of the fuzzy yellow spheroid.
“I smell the new balls when I get them. It’s something I do since I was little,” she said.
So infallible is Cibulkova’s nose that she willing took a test at 2017 Wimbledon, where she was able to differentiate between the various marques of balls used at the four Grand Slams – while blindfolded.
In another “sniff-off” she gave a favourable review to the US Open ball:
“Wilson is fine. Wilson US Open is a good one.”
She explained the origins of her particular party trick, which began in childhood: “It became some kind of a habit, a ritual I do. There is nothing more about it, it’s just part of me, part of my game, part of what I do on the court.”