| LONDON, June 24
LONDON, June 24 Victoria Azarenka turned up the
volume on the Wimbledon noise saga on Wednesday, calling for
people to respect grunters after the crowd mimicked her wails
during a second-round victory.
The eighth-seeded Belarussian said nearly three-quarters of
women on the tour screamed, squealed or squawked during matches
and that the sound effects were here to stay.
"People can do whatever they want but I hope they can
respect all the players who grunt, which are about 70 percent of
the whole tour," she told reporters.
"I have been doing it since I was 10 years old. I wasn't
really strong and that was what helped me to accelerate more, to
put more power to the ball.
"I cannot change it, that's what helps me to play. I have to
keep going with the thing that helps me play."
Whether it was the din or the deft shots that battered her
opponent into submission, something was obviously working as she
demolished Romanian Raluca Olaru 6-0 6-0.
Portuguese teenager Michelle Larcher de Brito, who deafened
French Open fans with an array of sounds usually heard in a
hospital maternity ward, had quietened down for her trip to
Expecting to need industrial ear plugs, the fans who packed
out court 12 to see the 16-year-old were disappointed at the
start of the match with the new subdued version but finally got
a taste of what all the fuss had been about in the second set.
The more she had to fight to stay in the match, the louder
she got and the longer the cries of anguish lasted.
"She sounds like she's dying," giggled Lucy Clements, whose
17-year-old brother Joe added: "We are only here to hear her, we
can do that from outside the court."
Larcher de Brito was beaten 7-6 7-6 by Italian Francesca
Schiavone, who made plenty of racket of her own to ensure the
debate over decibel levels will continue into the third round.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar; To comment on this story: