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Posted at 09:55 AM ET, 06/22/2011

Wimbledon official tells women players their grunts are spoiling tennis


Maria Sharapova, serial grunter. (Sang Tan / AP)

Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club would like women tennis players to stop with the grunting already.

Ritchie, in an interview with the Telegraph, that officials would “would prefer to see less grunting” and pointed out that individual playerss can do something about it.

“The players have an ability to complain about it, if one player is grunting too much and the other player doesn’t like it and it is distracting, they can complain to the umpire.

“We have discussed it with the tours and we believe it is helpful to reduce the amount of grunting.”

Although spectators may find the noise off-putting, “we are one tournament in a global circuit,” Ritchie said. “But we have made our views clear and we would like to see less of it.”

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, a serial grunter and Wimbledon semifinalist in 2009, drew attention for the volume and length of her wails Monday in a match against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova. She hit 95 decibels on the grunt-o-meter and her shrieks exceeded 1.5 seconds. (She advanced to the second round when Rybarikova retired because of injury.) Maria Sharapova holds the record, according to the Telegraph, for the loudest wail, hitting 105 decibels in 2009.

“People can do whatever they want, but I hope they can respect all the players who grunt, which are about 70 per cent of the whole tour,” Azarenka said. “I have been doing it since I was 10 years old. I wasn’t really strong and that was what helped me to accelerate more, to put more power to the ball.

“I cannot change it, that’s what helps me to play. I have to keep going with the thing that helps me play.”

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By  |  09:55 AM ET, 06/22/2011

 
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