Maria Sharapova’s grunting has come under fire from compatriot Elena Dementieva. The number seven seed, who lost in straight sets to the former Wimbledon champion, thinks the 19-year-old makes “a little bit too much” noise during her matches, but believes the Women’s Tennis Association is partly at fault.
“That’s the way she’s playing for a long time. And if the tour has allowed her to do such noise… my personal opinion is I think the umpire should calm down her a little bit,” she said after the match. “But I mean that’s the way she’s playing.”
There is no specific rule about grunting in tennis but if the opponent feels it is ‘hindering’ their game, a complaint can be lodged with the chair umpire who can use their discretion.
When journalists asked why the 24-year-old did not have a private word with her vocal opponent, Dementieva said it was because she was concentrating on her match.
“Next time I beat her I will say something,” she said. “But when you’re losing 6-1, 4-1 it doesn’t look good if you are gonna go to the umpire and talk about how loud she is screaming on the court.”
In reply, Sharapova said outright she would not change a thing about her grunting, even if someone told her to tone it down. “I always have the same answer to this question. I’ve done this ever since I started playing tennis and I’m not gonna change,” she said.
Written by Helen Gilbert