|Wednesday, June 11
Gasp! Sharapova's shrieks unsettling in England
BIRMINGHAM, England -- Russian teenager Maria Sharapova was ordered to tone down her grunting during her 6-3, 6-2 victory Wednesday over Nathalie Dechy in the second round of the DFS Classic.
Sharapova, who at 16 is one of the game's most promising young players, was warned by tournament officials after Dechy and players on an adjacent court complained about her high-pitched shrieks.
WTA Tour supervisor Donna Kelso and tournament referee Denise Parnell came on the court to ask Sharapova to lower the volume.
Under the sport's "hindrance" rule, a player can be penalized a point for excessive grunting.
Sharapova was quieter for a while, but after three points she went back to loud grunting. Dechy then complained to chair umpire Kim Craven.
"It was one of the loudest (grunts) I have heard," the French player said. "But I just played my match and tried not to care about it."
In other matches, seventh-seeded Alexandra Stevenson of the United States lost 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to Virginie Razzano of France.
Second-seeded Eleni Daniilidou of Greece defeated Meilen Tu of the United States 7-5, 6-1, and No. 3 Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria beat Jane O'Donoghue of Britain 6-2, 6-4.
Sharapova is louder than Monica Seles, who was warned about her grunting at Wimbledon a decade ago.
"It's difficult for me because I have been doing this since I was four," the Russian said. "But I have to think about how I can control it. If you get a complaint you just have to try to make people happy.
"I don't necessarily like it when I watch it on TV, but it is just automatic for me. But it's not going to be a major concern."