Quiet, please!

Punters who backed official reaction against the tennis queens of grunt are disappointed. Kate Youde reports

The crowd is supposed to keep quiet so they don't distract the players. But it was the spectators who were calling for quiet at yesterday's Australian Open final, which had been billed as the loudest in women's tennis.

Much of the pre-match talk ahead of the clash between Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, infamous as two of the game's biggest grunters, centred not on the power of their ground strokes but the power of their shrieks. And, in that sense, the encounter lived up to its billing: one fan, who had obviously failed to take precautions in the form of earplugs, shouted, "Turn the volume down!", in the second game of the match. Others in Rod Laver Arena could be heard muttering at the loud screams. The on-court roaring peaked at 94.3 decibels – a level at which sustained exposure can result in hearing loss.

Punters in the UK hoping to make money out of the women's vocal performances bet nearly £10,000 with Ladbrokes. The company offered odds on the players receiving an official warning, being docked a point, or disqualified.

However, punters were left out of pocket. David Williams, a spokesman for Ladbrokes, said those betting "anticipated a little bit more noise than they actually got". He claimed the sideshow of grunting had become "part of the betting staple" for women's tennis after being introduced as a bit of fun four or five years ago.

"These are two of the most prolific grunters in sports history," said Mr Williams of yesterday's final. "Sharapova has always been the queen of the grunt, but Azarenka is the lady-in-waiting."

The Russian Sharapova, 24, whose grunt has reached an ear-splitting 105 decibels in the past, hit 98 decibels during the tournament. In comparison, Azarenka, who has previously reached 95 decibels, apparently hit 91.4.

But it was Azarenka who won the match, 6- 3, 6-0 – her first Grand Slam title – moving up the world rankings to the number one slot.

Besides the spectators' comments, there was a lot of noise about grunting, with the BBC tennis commentator John Lloyd calling for it to be "stamped out". Another player, Agnieszka Radwanska, said that while she was used to Azarenka's noises, Sharapova's grunt was "just too loud". And the Women's Tennis Association announced it was exploring how to reduce excessive grunting, especially among younger players just starting out.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital