Sabine Lisicki accuses opponent Bojana Jovanovski of excessive grunting


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The Independent Online

Sabine Lisicki accused opponent Bojana Jovanovski of grunting so loudly it handed her an advantage in their Wimbledon tussle.

In the end Lisicki got the better of her 20-year-old Serbian opponent, but only after she complained to umpire Mariana Alves about the noise coming from the other side of the net.

German 22-year-old Lisicki, who reached the semi-finals last year, saw off Jovanovski by a 3-6 6-2 8-6 margin, scraping through to the third round.

She was far from happy afterwards, though, and open to discussing what she considered an excessive barrage of grunts coming from the other side of the net.

"It was distracting," Lisicki said. "You usually hear the sound of the ball, but I couldn't really hear it because of her grunting. But that's why we have the rules, the hindrance rule.

"So that's what I talked about to the judge."

The women's tour's hindrance rule allows the umpire to take action, at their discretion, if, as the rule states, "a player hinders her opponent", but there was no punishment this time.

Asked how Jovanovski compared with the grunting of Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka - numbers one and two in the world rankings - Lisicki said: "It was completely different, but off-putting, as well.

"Grunting is part of the game, but it shouldn't be off-putting and be an advantage for the opponent, the one who is doing it."

When asked if she grunts, Lisicki said: "Sometimes I do, yes, but I hope it's not as bad. No one ever complains, though."