Stop groaning over grunting, says Azarenka
Wimbledon semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka insists it's natural for her to grunt her way to victory, comparing the ear-splitting din she makes to the workings of a well-oiled machine.sports Updated: Jun 29, 2011 16:37 IST
Wimbledon semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka insists it's natural for her to grunt her way to victory, comparing the ear-splitting din she makes to the workings of a well-oiled machine.
The Belarusian fourth seed's distinctive wail has been measured at 95 decibels, 10 short of the 105 decibels once recorded by Maria Sharapova who she could meet in Saturday's final.
Despite her grunting constantly being mimicked by fans, the 21-year-old is adamant that it is a natural part of her game and not intended to upset opponents.
"When I was a kid, I was very weak and I needed that little extra power, extra push, to hit the ball over the net. I think that it became a part of my breathing, a part of my movement," said the 5ft 10in (1.88m) blonde.
"Your body is a machine a little bit. It makes noises. So for me it's perfectly natural now. I really have to exhale with that to move, to hit the shot. It's not that I want to piss somebody off. It's just natural."
Azarenka also believes it's unfair that the likes of her and Sharapova are singled out for criticism.
"You see weightlifters when they lift the bar they do the noise. I don't think a lot of people complain in the stadium, right?," she said.
However, Wimbledon officials disagree with All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie keen to silence the screamers and grunters.
"We are one tournament in a global circuit. But we have made our views clear and we would like to see less of it," he said.
Azarenka will be playing in her first Grand Slam semi-final when she meets Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic on Thursday, having previously lost four quarter-finals in the majors which led to questions over her temperament.
But the US-based player, whose career has already yielded $7 million, admitted that she had become so disenchanted with the sport earlier this year that she wanted to walk away.
That was until her grandmother, who had lived through the days of shortages and struggles in the former Soviet Union, told her a few home truths about when she took three jobs at a time just to keep the family together.
"I said that I don't want to do something that I'm not enjoying. She was telling me stories, how hard she was working. It was like, 'Well, you just have to shut up and stop complaining because you have a pretty damn good life. Just work out there'," she said.