Loudest grunter at Wimbledon insists she is not a cheat

June 22nd, 2009 - 12:10 pm ICT by ANI  

Maria Sharapova London, June 22 (ANI): The row over Wimbledon’s grunting girls is getting louder, but the loudest offender insisted that she is not a cheat.

“I am not a cheat. They are part of my strokes,” insists Portuguese Michelle Larcher de Brito, 16, whose 109-decibel blast is same as an F1 car.

“I’ve always been loud but I’m not trying to distract opponents. When I don’t grunt it feels weird because it’s not me,” The Sun quoted her, as saying.

The Williams sisters - Venus and Serena — have had their grunts recorded at 90 decibels, while Maria Sharapova gives a 103-decibel squeal.

Ex-Wimbledon champ Michael Stich stirred the controversy yesterday by saying women were there for “selling sex” on court and grunting was “unsexy”.

Earlier, Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who won 18 grand slam titles, had 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. (ANI)

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