Sharapova Is Dubbed The Queen Of Screams
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Sharapova is Dubbed the Queen of Screams

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Maria Sharapova, the former Wimbledon champion dubbed the Queen of Screams, claimed yesterday that she was too old to stop grunting on court.

After cementing a place in the third round of the tournament, the 25-year-old admitted that she had been screeching since the moment she first picked up a racquet.

But despite being one of the worst offenders, she said the plan to introduce maximum noise levels and to penalise those who exceed them was a "smart idea".

Asked if she could alter her technique to reduce the noise she makes, the world number one said: "Certainly not now, not since I've been doing it since I was four years old.

"It's definitely tough and impossible to do when you've played this sport for over 20 years." Heather Watson, the new golden girl of British tennis who will today (FRI) play for a place in the final 16, defended grunting and claimed that for some spectators, it added to the experience.

"I think some that watch tennis, some not all, actually enjoy it," she said. "Though there are a few who go way over the top."

Watson, 20, rolled her eyes when told about proposals to start teaching junior players how to breathe differently, stating incredulously: "There's an educational program?"

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has confirmed that off-putting wails will no longer be tolerated and that umpires will in the future be equipped with grunt-ometers to ensure the maximum levels are not breached.

The loudest known grunt came from Sharapova, who in 2009 was recorded at 105 decibels, equivalent to standing 3ft from a impact crusher.

Performance is always the priority, Sandieson said, but she and Sharapova strive for designs that marry function with fashion.

Kaufman also notes that today's tennis stars are photographed when they're off the court, too, giving more of a glimpse of their personal style.

Sharapova noted that the U.S. Open, which runs Aug. 27-Sept. 8, coincides with New York Fashion Week and she tries to make it to at least one show.

Once her tennis career is over, she said, fashion is something she'd like to further explore.