Punt the grunt into touch for everyone

Loud: Victoria Azarenka
Loud: Victoria Azarenka
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Grunting is just not tennis, says Wimbledon.

What they means is, it’s just not ladylike.

Just a few days in and there’s as much moaning and groaning off court as there is on. Officials have asked Wimbledon women to pipe down.

It’s un-nerving opponents and putting off the fans, they tutted, after noise machines recorded Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, a player often criticised for her wails, edging towards record levels on the opening day of the tournament.

Spectators guffawed, not only at the volume but also the length of her roars, which exceeded 1.5 seconds almost every time she hit the ball.

Why is it only the women getting it in the neck, though? Plenty of the male competitors are noisy. Nadal, Djokovic and Murray at times... yet you don’t hear anyone complaining at them.

It should be love-all or hate-all; either let every player grunt and yell, or make them all conform to English etiquette – ie play with stiff upper lips and a cucumber sandwich shoved between their teeth.

It’s offensive and sexist to think it’s acceptable for a male sportsman, aggressively pursuing victory, to verbalise the effort he puts behind his back-hand, but call his female equivalent doing the very same thing everything from a pig to a dog.

But then, the world of tennis is still so green about sexism. While it’s light-years ahead of football, a sport in which women are paid peanuts and treated like curious little pet monkeys, it hasn’t cottoned on to the fact that allowing much of the focus on female players to be about their figures and their outfits demeans the entire game.

Too many tennis fans still think women aren’t good enough to be on the professional circuit. No wonder the girls grunt with aggression.