Melbourne, June 4 (ANI): Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who won 18 grand slam titles, has called grunting female players cheats, and asked that something to be done to end the noise on court.
Navratilova used the presentation of an award for her service to the game to air her grievances to tennis leaders.
“Roger Federer doesn’t make a noise when he hits the ball — go and listen. The grunting has reached an unacceptable level. It is cheating, pure and simple. It is time for something to be done,” The Times quoted Navratilova, as saying.
The two-time French Open champion did not name any offenders. But the paper reported the assault on eardrums at the French Open this year was being led by Michelle Larcher De Brito, Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
Navratilova said: “I remember how it was when Monica (Seles) and I were competitors and she began to grunt. I couldn’t hear the ball. I thought to myself, ‘Do I mention it to the umpire, do I say something to her? What should I do?’ And Monica was a friend. I had to say something in the end.”
The grunting dispute with Seles began in 1992, with Navratilova complaining there was more to it than merely irritating the opposition.
The sound made by the strings of a racquet striking the ball gives the skilled player an important clue about the speed and spin of the ball they are about to face. Drowning this sound out with a loud grunt denies that information to your adversary.
“A player is in a difficult position because if they make too much of a fuss, the crowd can turn against them,” she said.
“It is the umpires who have to act because if they start enforcing the hindrance rule and give point penalties, it will soon stop. The grunts are louder and lasting well into the opponent’s strike zone,” Navratilova added. (ANI)