Sydney, June 29 (ANI): Former tennis great Chris Evert has admitted that she'd have trouble playing with the "louder, shriller" grunting now emitted by some leading women tennis players.
Evert, a winner of 18 grand slam singles titles in the 1970s and 80s, said it's of particular concern that the noise from grunters often seems to rise on key shots.
"Grunting is one thing but the shrill sound that you hear with players nowadays and especially they get louder when they hit a winner, that's the thing that I observe as a player," said Evert, in Sydney with husband Greg Norman on Monday.
"It comes before they hit the shot. That's the first thing you hear and you are kind of like thrown off guard as a player and then before you know the ball gets past you.
"Really the next time you watch say Maria Sharapova, the grunting is consistent but all of a sudden when she has a set up, she has a winner, the grunting gets louder.
"That's a distraction to me because you are hearing a loud grunt before you see the shot.
Evert, 54, says the sport went through a similar problem with Monica Seles in the 1990s although now it's more widespread.
Sharapova's grunts have been measured at 101 decibels, almost as loud as a lion's roar (110).
Evert says when she was playing against Australian pair Evonne Goolagong-Cawley and Margaret Court and other big names such as Martina Navratilova, "there was nothing but good sportsmanship".
"You went to shake hands, you said nice match, it was very cordial. But the grunting, it's definitely an issue," she said. (ANI)