London: Victoria Azarenka has hit out at sections of the Centre Court crowd for laughing at her and Serena Williams grunting in the heat of a classic Wimbledon quarter-final.
Azarenka reacts during her match against Serena Williams. Pic/AFP
Azarenka criticised fans for picking up on her and 20-time Grand Slam champion Williams’ high decibel levels, by audibly guffawing in the middle of one of SW19’s tensest matches this year.
“It’s so annoying because guys grunt,” said Azarenka.
“I was practising next to (Rafael) Nadal, and he grunts louder than me, and nobody notices that, why? I don’t understand why. Both women on the court were trying their hardest and giving everything, and they make noises.
No big deal
“Is that a problem for tennis? It happens in every sport. So I think maybe it’s time to just put it aside and not talk about it all the time because this is not what is important when there are two players on the Centre Court.
We’ve got to look a little bit past that and see, ‘oh, my God, Serena played 24 aces’. Look at the good stuff, stop bringing this ridiculous stuff. Let’s put aside the noise and how she looks, and look at the game. The game proved itself today.”
Azarenka suggested the fans involved may have been the worse for wear through alcohol consumption.
“I think they might have had a little too many Pimm’s or whatever,” said the former World No 1. “When people are drinking, every time the announcer says ‘make sure you hydrate yourself’, I think he means with water, not alcohol!”
Williams admitted it was not the first time in her glittering career fans’ laughter had proved a distraction.
The 33-year-old claimed she was unfazed by the fuss however, refusing to brand the crowd reaction any lack of respect. “It can be a little bit distracting sometimes, if you’re trying to listen to a line judge’s call or something,” said Williams. “It’s happened a few times, I’m kind of used to it. I don’t think it’s done in a disrespectful way. I just know today me and Vika (Azarenka) were giving our all out there.”