WTA chief Larry Scott addresses women’s tennis players’ screams


Victoria AzarenkaLoud screams of some women’s tennis players have been irritating their opponents, as well as a large portion of tennis fans, and the WTA chief Larry Scott has finally decided to consider that constant problem.

There are rules in place,” said Scott. “There are hindrance rules. Chair umpires are empowered to issue warnings, point penalties if there is a feeling that it’s gamesmanship affecting play.

“But I don’t think we’re at that point of sort of changing the instructions to the chair umpires. It’s just being monitored a little bit more closely right now. I haven’t had players come to me in my six years as head of the WTA to say this is a competition issue. At least up ’til now, it has been more of an issue about the presentation of the sport, and it hasn’t really been a competition issue.”

Famous grunter herself, Victoria Azarenka, stood before all of those that can’t play without producing noise.

“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,” said Azarenka, who has just reached the fourth round of Wimbledon by beating Sorana Cirstea.

“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.”

I have to say that I don’t find grunters annoying; they don’t distract me as a spectator. However, I have to use this opportunity to proclaim Michelle Larcher De Brito the queen of them all! (sources: ESPN, Reuters; photo: Ralf Reinecke)


  1. Michelle Larcher de Brito surpassed Maria in the loudness, she is measured at 109 decibels while Maria’s best is only 103 decibels. Sad, I want Maria to be the number one grunter. 🙁

    Anyway, I haven’t seen anyone complain about the grunts until Aravane Rezai at Roland Garros. And that was the only one.

  2. I saw the match between Dementieva and Rezai at Wimbledon during the week and I was amazed that between each point I could hear Michelle Larcher de Brito literally screaming from the top of her lungs and the court wasn’t even next to the one Dementieva was playing on! It was unbelievable because I didn’t think that even Larcher de Brito could surpass Sharapova in the noise levels. I have been proven wrong!

  3. Bud you are absolutely right in mentioning the noise that’s been permitted by officials. I think it’s cheating when allowed to distract your opponent by not letting them hear the sound of the ball coming off the opponents racket. Top players like Sharapova, Larcher de Brito, Monica Seles, and either of the Williams sisters are allowed to violate the rules of interference with play by bellowing like animals in distress. I can understand normal grunting as a natural sound when exerting, but screaming shouldn’t be allowed. It’s distracting, unfair to others, as well as, the audience. A player gets warned and fined when cursing, so what’s so sacred, or necessary about screaming.

  4. As mentioned above there is a difference between grunting and shrieking.

    As a TV spectator, I can’t tolerate it, i.e., I can’t watch their matches, I consider it clearly unacceptable, AND, as tennis is supposed to be a ladies game, it certainly isn’t ladylike behavior.

    Larcher de Brito and Azarenka make their matches sound like Trashville street fights.

  5. I don’t mind most of the grunting actually. What I don’t like hearing are the high-pitched banshee screams produced by Sharapova and that Larcher de Brito girl (who I will never want to see/hear play tennis as long as she plays)

  6. The Williams sisters are such bullies on the court, they win by hitting the ball as hard as they possibley can, like a man and this is how they win. Then add the screaming williams running at you to hit a ball at 130 mph. I feel they should be playing with the men. All the other women show talent and strategy. Stop the screaming,bullying and raise your tennis to a level of court placement, the way Chris Everett and Martina used to handle the game like real professionals!! That screeching is ruining the game, I would rather mow the lawn, its quieter!!

  7. I find the constant shriekers very annoying, to the point that I don’t watch their matches anymore. I’ll never watch another Sharapova, Azarenka, Larcher de Brito, etc match.

  8. Stupid thing!!!!

    Leva the girls scream!!!!

    Sharapova and Dementieva scream since forever, and no, just because have a young girl in town screm so loud, this stupid guys from tennis and to stop it…

    It’s so stupid…

    Tennis is not like 1988…no is 2009, and this is the way!!!

  9. Stupid thing!!!!

    Leva the girls scream!!!!

    Sharapova and Dementieva scream since forever, and now, just because have a young girl in town scream so loud, this stupid guys from tennis want to stop it…

    It’s so stupid…

    Tennis is not like 1988…now is 2009, and this is the way!!!

  10. Teerin, Maria doesn’t have to be the best in this department, it’s a positive thing.

    Bróna, hahaha, if it weren’t hilarious it would be tragic.

    I see tennis fans are divided on this issue, but I’ve noticed that much more of them are against screamers.

  11. Please stop the screams!!! Chief Larry Scott get a back bone and enforce fairness and enjoyment of tennis. Why does the chair person tell the audience to be quiet? Maybe because its distracting to the players!!!

    Its rude and unfair. period!

  12. I just will not go see a women’s tournament. I have just been to see the men but I find the women’s yelling really irritating. The women tennis player say that this does not bother them, but it does bother many paying fans. After all if the tennis players make very good money it is because of the fans. Turn off the fans and you also turn off the sponsers.

  13. Is it obviously disgusting to hear the female as well male players screeming out like they are sexually or mentally abused?

    This is becoming a public hazard and should be banned by law.

  14. The so-called ‘grunting’ which in my opinion is more like screaming is the sole reason I cannot watch women’s tennis with the volume on. I will never see a woman’s tennis match live for that sole reason.

  15. victoria azarenkas drawn out shriek is undoubtedly put on to disrupt her opponents play. she continues her cry out from the point she hits the ball to the point her opponent recieves the ball. and if shes serving and the ball hits the net, its cut short some how, isnt that evidence enough? i can understand a grunt… but to employ your vocal chords on the full exhalation of your lungs? give me a break. some one put a muzzle on that player.

  16. This is the most AWFUL sound I have ever heard! Thank God I’m not into tennis because this would drive anyone nuts. I wouldn’t be surprised if spectators stop going to her matches…actually a bunch of pervs will most likely start following her matches! Anyone that can put up with her animal like screaching is either deaf or a perv!!

  17. i think a small grunt occasionally on serve is ok ONLY OCCASIONALLY but azarenka shut up she does it to trow the other players off there game i agree with Sunny D if she says she has been doing it since she was 10 then maybe her coach should’nt be a coach for not telling her to stop. i hate all constant screamers kim clijsters doesn’t need to scream i think screamers should be penalized if its constant

  18. azarenka needs to shut up she is so annoying if she has been screeching since she was 10 her trainer should have been fired for not stopping her she clearly does it to throw the other players off there game. i completely agree with what Sunny D said. i hate all screamers and cant stand them start penalizing them and they will soon stop.

  19. azarenka should shut up i am seek of hearing her shriek its deafening if i played her i would refuse unless she shut up her coach when she was 10 should be fired for not telling her to not scream i agree with what Sunny D said she clearly does it to throw players off

  20. Those who have some influence on the women’s game, please do something about the grunting/screaming. This is a spectator sport where the spectators are being abused. Until recent years no women players grunted or screamed – screaming/grunting is overpowering (Azeranka, Sharapova, et al) during some games- the screamers/grunters should be required to undergo rehab.

  21. I’ve been watching some of the Miami tennis and agree with Sunny D; Azeranka deliberately draws at the noise so that it’s still carrying on when her opponent hits the ball. Pathetic really, particularly as she’s a fine player who surely doesn’t need to indulge in that kind of embarrassing gameswomanship. In the semifinal, someone in the crowd started doing an uncanny mimic of it.

  22. We regularly go see men’s ATP tournaments. We would NEVER go see the women, solely because we can’t stand the screams! I too must mute TV volume in order to watch matches…it’s gamesmanship…AND ridiculous!

  23. “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.” Azarenka

    ya’ whatever…..if the coach who taught her this screaming as a “motivational training enhancement” tool…faitr enough….however this as with anything has tio be coupled with the benefit or wellbeing of one’s audience
    You go to a car race…you can hear them race by AND it’s part of the game…ie: loud noises come from cars
    However distratcting…self-serving (see above statement) atttudes that do nothing to extend he enjoyment of the game …in fact hindering ones’ enjoyment..due to this amateurish whining wail she calls motivational…what her coach forgot to tell her when they where learning ths in a training facility somewhere is that “when you get in the world you have to temper your “wailing whine..” with the audiences’ ability to handle excruciatingly painful, whining….shut the f-ck up….wailing everytime you hit the ball”…..ie: put a cork in it and respect the other people around AND notice that 99 % of them do not sound like this…..I would never watch another game after hearing this poor excuse for an athlete’s whining wanker of a wail…….

  24. I really wish they would ban the loud squeels and screams of the women players. It is not necessary. They do not do it in practice and they need to stop it during matches. It is becomming a real deterrant to watching womens tennis. It should have been stopped when it was first started by Monica Seles. It is turing off good avid tennis fans. I though Shirapova was bad but now there is Azarenka, who makes me turn off the television. I cannot stand her whines.

    Please ban it from tennis so we can watch in peace.

  25. Petra Kvitova rocks!!! I think she also quits the annoying grunts and yells that have for some years been the irritating part of watching women’s tennis games. Petra shows again it works without the stupid grunts. Go Petra!

  26. Men don’t scream when playing tennis. I can’t stand to watch a women’s game for the screaming. No one wants to watch this. If I want to hear a woman screaming, I’ll watch a porno movie.

  27. They need to stop the screaming in women’s tennis. I’m in favor of imposing the rule right now, if some players can’t play without screaming then too bad for them. More importantly, beginning today all young players need to be taught how to play without screaming, that way the problem will be permanently gone in another 10 years or so.

  28. I hardly watch TV these days. I did sit with my dad just now while having lunch and watched the tennis. House bound due to an illness.

    I could not believe my ears; Victoria Azarenka was playing. I could not believe that the other tennis player was not saying anything, or the umpire or commentators. I left the lounge as soon as I could and had to look up if there were any complaints about this on the internet. What idiots comment that they find the shrieks of Victoria Azarenka entertaining? What morons actually.

    If I were a player, I would complain, let alone being an umpire. I notice that when Victoria Azarenka would serve into the net the shriek would be cut off in mid shriek, like there was no point in continuing the shriek to put off the other player. This tells me that Victoria Azarenka is a phony in regards to the excuses she makes for these horrible noises. It’s not just a grunt; it’s a long winded shriek. It is stated that Victoria Azarenka’s noises are at 95 Db’s, louder than a Harley Davidson motor bike.

    Victoria Azarenka should be warned, next fined and next incurred a loss to the game. Let’s see how long the noises continue then? What sort of society puts up with this stupidity and even calls this entertaining? Sick Psychology!

  29. Oh how Iagree about these screaming tennis players.They are extremely off-putting and completely spoil the game. It is really not necessary and should be banned. Idont mind a grunt but the banshee wails are destroying many people’s enjoyment of th game.So come on you officials,do something to stop it.

  30. Monica Seles started the whole thing way back when. She was allowed to get away with it and it’s been downhill ever since.
    It’s a planned distraction for advantage just like jumping around before receiving serve. These ploys are generated by greed and lack of character.
    If this is ok then just let the players throw rocks at each other for crying out loud.

  31. My hacker friends and I agree with many comments above – that grunting is NOT the annoying Screaming. How can we, as Lovers of tennis, ban together and try to stop this. I am turning off the Australian Open right now until the Sharapova match is over. and her Screaming is exceptionally rude and stupid because she tries to act so feminine and delicate off the court. One can’t even appreciate her tennis through the SCREAMS.

  32. As a person who watches tennis everyday of the week I have to say that women tennis has become a really annoyance to watch due to these screams.

    I find it funny that WTA players say that it helps them pace the ball and hit harder, that is just bullcrap!

    Watch Sharapova practice, there is not one single scream but when she comes on court for a match she screams.
    Why do these women scream so much? well its simple, to distract the other player so they can get errors out of them. there is no other reason for it.

    there is also a rule that says no talking or noise during a point for the audience but a player can scream how loud they want during a point?

    WTA should enforce a new rule that no screaming is allowed during a point, its ok to grunt when hitting a ball like most of the players do, but letting out a scream like these women does is not OK.

  33. I have stopped watching women’s tennis matches when players such as Sharipova and Azarenka are involved in a match simply due to the screaming. I want to watch the game not be annoyed by constant screeching. Looks like the women’s final at the Australian open is out of the question. . .

  34. How I hate women’s tennis these days and the men too. What with all the noise they make and Nadal incessantly pulling on what looks like his jockstrap. No finesse at all with a few exceptions. Contorted faces, clenched fists and players insulting umpires. Certainly not the game it used to be. I watch the majors these days on TV with the mute on. Grunting should definitely be banned just as fighting in ice hockey should be banned.

  35. I consider screaming as intimidating the opponent and a form of cheating as the scream arrives at the same moment as the ball and should be banned. it is ridiculous to say that they cannot stop it, they do not do it in practice as it is banned there. If the spectators matched it scream for scream and grunt for grunt I can guarantee that the offenders would complain bitterly. C’mon, spectators, make a stand against screaming, scream back in unison.

  36. If I were playing against a screamer, I would stop play every time my opponent screamed and ask the umpire to intervene as i constitutes a hindrance to my playing. Why the other players have tolerated this behavior is beyond me.

  37. The women screaming is idiotic and a complete put on. You notice Azarenka can mysteriously stop her moaning shriek immediately if her shot goes into the net. Many are like this.

    I think the marketing people tell all the girls to shriek and moan and wear short skirts to increase appeal. And the USTA uses different balls for men and women so women’s game is faster.

    This is why I hate women’s tennis. If Martina and Billie Jean and Graff could knock the hell out of the ball using older racquets and not make a sound why can’t any of today’s bimbos? It is all a show.

  38. How good to see that so many people are against the screechers; only one supportive comment on here. I agree with the contributor who said they are phoneys; everything about Sharapova exudes falseness; even the prissy way she walks back to collect the balls to serve. Azarenka is arrogant saying people who complain about screaming are sad.

    I note one contributor mentions turning the sound down but I hate not hearing the sound of the ball and the applause.

  39. If the players demand quite on the courts in order to play…then the players should be required to keep their grunting and screaming within a certain level as their opponent should complain that the noise is distracting….it is cheating as far as I am concerned and they should loose points if the decibel reading is over an acceptable level

  40. @ Monica
    Several did complain but they never got much support from the umpires. I heard that there are plans to (finally!) install devices measuring the noise players are making. If it surpasses certain level they could get punished. I wonder why it’s taken so much time to act upon this problem, anyway. It’s clearly a part of a strategy for some players and even those who are no experts in tennis can observe it.

  41. I am only a casual player.I am a great fan of the game. I find that I am against distractions (grunt-scream etc.) I am also aware that it is considered difficult to do anything about it.If those who are of the same opinion (and play the game) then YOU can do something about it, and that is to “return the favor of your opponent, by making a similar noise at the same time as your opponent does.If enough do this, we should soon see if it is or isn’t against the rules of play. Please,please,please try and see.

  42. Azarenka makes the sound well after she’s struck the ball.
    Most times she does not shut up until the ball as reached her opponent.
    In some cases she does not grunt at all.
    She uses it as a weapon. Withdrawing the grunt in tough points to unsettle her opponent.
    Nasty Ilie Nastase would give the middle finger to his opponents.
    Azarenka is doing the same with the loud grunting.
    She is very nasty.

  43. I and other folks at my club have stopped going to matches. Note low attendance at La Costa. Sometimes I still watch TV matches but with mute.
    Those who scream are low class and not pros,

  44. Stop the ridiculous screaming!! In fact to hell with you!! I am not watching live tennis anymore!
    So BITE ME! Scream you idiots!

  45. Six years later and the screaming goes on. As is convincingly argued in this blog, there’s no excuse for it! What sickens me just as much as the official spinelessness, is the tacit conspiracy of silence shown by the commentariat (led by J. Courier) whose job it is to mediate this great sport to us viewers. They’ll occasionally praise a player for good sportsmanship but nary a word of criticism for shrieking, screaming and assorted time wasting. But what else can we expect when the game has become part of the global entertainment industry where heaps of money is up for grabs; the commentators will say nothing that might even remotely tarnish the brand or affect their earnings.
    Perhaps if enough viewers switched off when the worst offenders are playing, especially in finals, the sponsors might exert some pressure on the WTA.

  46. Gosh, we had a few months of women’s tennis spared of screeching Sharapova when she was fined and sentenced for drug abuse. Too bad the authorities could not have also invoked a ban on SCREAMING during her matches. Now she is back, in fine form, screaming at the top of her lungs to the detriment of her opponent and the obvious discomfort of her live spectators and the TV viewers alike. If she really NEEDS to scream to improve her game, what kind of a player is she really? I don’t recall Chris Evert or Martina Navratilova needing to scream through any of the matches each performed over the years. Why does this ridiculous player think she needs to scream to win a point, and who care what she thinks. She should be penalized each time she lets loose. Perhaps that would bring her screaming under control and force her to play a game that more reasonable players consistently are playing.


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