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Friday, 24 June 2011

Does Maria Sharapova have to shriek?

I've always enjoyed watching Wimbledon. I remember watching it for years (yes, I did watch the 1994 women's final (Conchita Martinez v Martina Navratilova), for example). It's one of the sporting highlights I look forward to every year. Being in America I can't watch it on the BBC. Instead I have to watch it online on ESPN. I do miss the BBC coverage, though if there is a televised match on Court 16 that ESPN is not interested in (because it contains a British player), they won't have a commentary team but instead use the BBC commentary (they even use the BBC graphics for such matches). Thus, I can still listen to Virgina Wade and John Lloyd if I pick my matches carefully.

One thing that has really annoyed me about tennis in recent years is the shrieking that some of the female players do on every single point. Maria Sharapova is the classic example, but she's not alone. It used to be a grunt, but now the shrieks are more like `AIIEEEEEEE'. It makes watching tennis very unpleasant. According to both Chris Evert (also John Lloyd's ex-wife) and Virginia Wade the shrieking is a product of the Bolletieri Academy. I've heard many announcers and ex-players from both sides of the Atlantic complain about the shrieking. Is it really necessary? They don't shriek in practice, and it doesn't always help them win. There are still some women who don't shriek (thank you Daniela), and it doesn't hinder them either. Unfortunately, I think the shrieking is here to stay. It'll only disappear if people stop watching and the sponsors start offering less money for the tournaments (then the WTA might take notice).

I'll still watch the tennis, but I may have to put it on mute.