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Monday, June 29, 2009
Updated: June 30, 10:57 AM ET
Evert: Shrieks distract from matches

Reuters

SYDNEY -- Tennis great Chris Evert has joined the chorus of complaints about the noise level in women's tennis, saying the "grunting" was getting out of hand.

Evert stopped short of joining former rival Martina Navratilova in labelling the practice as cheating, but agreed it had reached unacceptable levels.

Evert
Evert

"Grunting is one thing but the shrill sound that you hear with players nowadays, and especially they get louder when they hit a winner, that's the thing that I observe as a player," the former world No. 1 told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

"It comes before they hit the shot. That's the first thing you hear and you are kind of like thrown off guard as a player and then before you know the ball gets past you."

Evert is visiting Sydney with her husband Greg Norman, who announced he would play in the Australian Open golf championship for the next three years.

"It is distracting when you are hearing this and I think the grunts are getting louder and more shrill now with the current players," she said.

"The next time you watch say a Maria Sharapova -- the grunting is consistent but all of a sudden when she has a set up to hit a winner.

"I don't understand, they say you've got to blow air out when you hit the ball.

"Steffi Graf hit the ball a ton and she didn't grunt. There were a lot of players, hard-hitting players, and you never heard a peep out of them.

"I don't understand the philosophy of it."