Surely you’d be used to hearing the shrieks of tennis players hitting the ball by now.
But it was on a whole new level with Belarusian teenager Aryna Sabalenka, who was playing Aussie player Ashleigh Barty at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
Sabalenka has gained notoriety for both her exceptional skills and rather loud grunts on the court. During Thursday’s match, they prompted the umpire to address what was believed to be the crowd imitating Sabalenka’s screams. So of course, the crowd responded by making their grunts even louder, much to the chagrin of Barty.
“Ladies & gentlemen please, during the rally, do not scream.”
The Chair Umpire may have regretted her choice of words during this 🇦🇺 Barty v 🇧🇾
Sabalenka #AusOpen match…
— #7TENNIS 🎾 (@7tennis) January 16, 2018
For Barty, who won the match, the screeching proved to be not too much of a distraction.
“I think if something that small can irritate you, that’s a bigger issue in itself,” Barty told reporters, according to ABC News.
“I knew it was coming. I was prepared for it … I mean, obviously in the first couple of games, you get used to it. Everyone has a bit of a different grunt. But, no, you get used to it.”
However, it seems people at home weren’t entirely into the noises — or couldn’t ignore them.
Sabalenka has 347 different sounding grunts. What a talent.
— Pam Shriver (@PHShriver) January 16, 2018
Sorry @ashbar96 would love to keep watching and supporting you but can’t take that prolonged screeching from Sabalenka anymore. An absolute disgrace!!! Good luck
— Michael Christian (@Chrisso_21) January 16, 2018
It’s totally unacceptable the amount of ‘noise’ coming out of Aryna Sabalenka’s mouth as she hits most of her shots. It must be a distraction to Ash Barty. It’s ruining the match. #AusOpen
— Adam White (@White_Adam) January 16, 2018
They tell the crowd to be quiet when a piece of cotton touches a piece of felt, but Sabalenka is allowed to screech like she’s been torn apart by a savage pack of lions. Ah, tennis. #ausopen
— Jon Tuxworth (@Tuxy81) January 16, 2018
Ah, tennis. One day you’re imitating Sabalenka’s shrieks, the next you’re watching Ron Burgundy ask Roger Federer the tough questions during an on-court interview.