Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Wimbledon Officials Say No to Game, Set and Grunt

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Wimbledon Officials Say No to Game, Set and Grunt

Article excerpt

ANYONE hear Michelle Larcher de Brito at the French Open?

Ah, come on; you must have heard her. You didn't even need to switch on the TV. The decibel level was enough to knock aircraft out of the sky, kill birds and get Dean and Sam Winchester investigating supernatural upheavals in Paris.

She was loud. I mean this teen could be signed up as a backing screamer for Metallica.

You could even hear her from across the channel - at least Wimbledon officials could.

And they - along with spectators - have had enough.

In a bid to make Wimbledon a shriek-free zone, the Brits are cracking down on the wailers, the screamers and the grunters (good name for a death metal band, I reckon).

That includes Maria Sharapova and Portuguese teen Larcher de Brito, who was booed off the court at the French Open after her opponent complained about her extended howls.

The Daily Express in Britain, quoting an unnamed source from the All England club, reported de Britos' camp had been warned and other players also "spoken to". Hopefully, in a language they understand - ooohhhs, urrhummps and eeeeooos.

The girls don't have a monopoly on screaming, though. Ivan Lendl, for example, complained about Andre Agassi's off-putting grunt on big shots in the US Open in 1988.

But for both sexes the problem is the banshee hit can be more than a bit of gamesmanship. It's become a habit, learnt since childhood. Get that bit extra into the hit with a grunt. No grunt, no focus.

Still, I'm yet to hear Dave Warner or Ricky Ponting shriek when they smack a cricket ball around. At least not at the 93 decibel level Monica Seles was measured at once.

Of course, I've got a fencing analogy here.

It's about a guy called Salvatore Sanzo. As far as names go, I reckon that's one of the better ones, especially for a blond Italian who knows how to use a sword. …

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