“[I couldn't stop grunting,] certainly not now, not since I've been doing it since I was four years old.”Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova has backed plans to silence tennis grunters even though the world number one is one of the worst offenders.
Sharapova is well known for pumping up the volume with shrieks and screams during key points and the Russian raised the decibel levels again at Wimbledon on Thursday as she battled to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 6-0 second round victory over Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.
But a growing numbers of players and fans are complaining about grunting from the likes of Sharapova and world number two Victoria Azarenka.
Germany’s Sabine Lisicki was the latest to join the backlash as she criticised Bojana Jovanovski for drowning out the sound of the ball hitting the racquet during their match at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
Tennis chiefs are finally ready to act, with WTA chairwoman and chief executive Stacey Allaster determined to stamp out the grunting in future generations.
Allaster’s organisation and the sport’s other governing bodies are developing plans to prevent future players making excessive noise, with one idea to introduce handheld monitors for umpires so they can measure noise levels during matches.
Sharapova agrees officials should be allowed to take action and she said: “I certainly spoke to Stacey about it. We’ve had numerous conversations.
“It’s the first person actually that’s sat down with many people and coaches and sports psychologists and analysts and really reviewed what could be done.
“I’m really happy with the system that she put forth. Going to the juniors, going to the academies that are producing the young players, and putting a system in place, I think it’s extremely smart.”
While Sharapova is happy to see the issue being confronted, she doesn’t believe she would be able to tone down her own, ingrained grunting.
“Certainly not now, not since I’ve been doing it since I was four years old,” Sharapova said.
“It’s definitely tough and impossible to do when you’ve played this sport for over 20 years.”