Wimbledon 2011: Maria Sharapova and the 10 Loudest Grunters
Grunting has become, in the opinion of many, an ugly side of tennis, but is it really that bad?
It has become a part of the game, especially in the women's draw—where about 70 percent do it—and it reflects what an energy sapping sport tennis is.
It can be argued that grunting originated from the likes of Jimmy Connors and Monica Seles, but in the eyes of Martina Navratilova, it has become a part of the game that should be banned.
Being banned is a bit drastic as grunting is a natural form of the game and is inevitable once players get tired, for instance.
It is understandable when the likes of Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka are hitting around the 100 decibel mark that people start to complain, but so many players are grunting nowadays.
What follows is a light-hearted list which displays 10 of the top grunters in the women and men's game. Please note that as grunting has become so popular, there may be a few omissions from the list.
10. Ana Ivanovic
Many may disagree with this, but in recent months, Ana Ivanovic has started to grunt.
Ivanovic is at No. 10 because it is not particularly loud, but her grunt is still rather distinguishable. It emphasizes her effort, but it is OK to listen to as it is not particularly ear piercing.
Despite becoming the World No.1 in 2008 and her good looks catching the eye of many a tennis fan, the Serbian's fall from grace has been rather painful. And though she's returned to the top 20, she has been inconsistent.
Some offensive groundstrokes and a bit of grunting may have helped her to two very convincing wins at Wimbledon this year, but she was soundly beaten by Petra Cetkovska in the third round.
9. Novak Djokovic
As the second Serb in the list, Novak Djokovic likes to grunt his way through a match.
Like a few on this list and Ivanovic before him, it is not at all annoying and just shows his effort.
The flair and style of Djokovic seems to drown out his grunting, which in actual fact is not particularly loud. Therefore, this is why the World No. 2 is only ninth on this list.
Djokovic has just made it through to the fourth round at Wimbledon after a hard fought and entertaining win over Marcos Baghdatis.
8. Maria Kirilenko
Another good looking woman, but she does make quite a noise on a tennis court.
Now that this list has Ivanovic and Djokovic out of the way, it is starting to reach the players who really start to set the decibels rising.
Maria Kirilenko displayed her grunting in today's match against Serena Williams. The Russian did lose in straight sets, so that will be the last of her grunts at SW19 for this year.
7. Rafael Nadal
The World No. 1 can be quite a grunter on his day. Like all of these players, his grunt matches his style of play on the court. It is powerful, strong and battle-like.
Nadal's grunts never receive complaints. It is not annoying, as it displays just how much effort the Spaniard puts into every shot.
Having 10 grand slams to his name and being the "King of Clay" may have something to do with it, but Nadal is adored by fans across the world.
Nadal faces Juan Martin Del Potro in the fourth round.
6. Svetlana Kuznetsova
Svetlana Kuznetsova seems to work extremely hard on a tennis court—no wonder she grunts.
Kuznetsova puts a lot of effort into her groundstrokes, but it has mostly been an uphill battle for the Russian in recent years.
Since her grand slam victory at the French Open in 2009, Kuznetsova has not been past the quarterfinals at a slam since. At Wimbledon, she has reached the quarterfinals twice in her career.
However, there will be no repeat of that this year as Kuznetsova lost in the third round to Yanina Wickmayer.
5. Francesca Schiavone
Francesca Schaivone is a very determined and passionate tennis player. Her grunt is one that resembles her determination, yet her game is one of class, especially her single-handed backhand.
Schiavone's poor run at Wimbledon continued this year as she lost in the third round to Tamira Paszek, but her passion for the game is loved across the world.
Schiavone is the 2010 French Open champion and was the runner-up at Roland Garros this year.
4. Serena Williams
The noise Serena Williams makes on court does not really reflect the way she seems to portray herself outside tennis. It is not classy or glamorous, but then who needs to be either of those things if you can play tennis as well as Serena.
Most still see her as the best player in the game despite having missed 12 months due to a couple of serious injuries.
Serena's grunt resembles how hard she works on court and how she overawes her opponent on most occasions.
The four-time Wimbledon champion will hope to claim her 14th grand slam next Saturday, but she must first overcome Marion Bartoli in the fourth round.
3. Venus Williams
Is it fair to say that Venus Williams' grunt resembles more of a shout than a distinguishable effort to hit a tennis ball?
Similar to her sister Serena, her grunting resembles her dominance on the court. It is powerful and rather threatening.
Along with her vocal chords, Venus has won seven grand slam singles titles, five of which have been at Wimbledon.
The No. 23 seed has treated the Wimbledon crowds to fantastic tennis over the past week including her epic win against Kimiko Date Krumm.
Venus faces Svetana Pironkova in the fourth round.
2. Victoria Azarenka
Like many of these women, Victoria Azarenka does not make a sound in her warm up. But as soon as the match starts, her song begins.
Azarenka's grunt is more of a howling sound and does get rather annoying over a period of time.
Nevertheless, Azarenka has established herself as a class act on the WTA tour and a rather cool and collected young woman.
The 21-year-old reached her highest ranking of four in May of this year and will hope to improve on her quarterfinal appearance in 2009.
Azarenka faces Nadia Petrova in the fourth round.
1. Maria Sharapova
The loudest of them all.
Maria Sharapova may look good on the court, but as everyone is aware, she makes a lot of noise. The thing is, did she grunt her way to the Wimbledon title in 2004? If she did, her grunting was nothing compared to the scale of what she achieved that day.
Since that Wimbledon title, she has been the World No. 1, won the US Open and Australian Open but suffered a bad injury which saw her ranking slip a little.
Back in the top 10 and many people's favourite for the Wimbledon title this year, Sharapova will face Shuai Peng in the fourth round.
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