Former Grand Slam winner Monica Seles leapt to the defence of Wimbledon champ Sharapova after the Russian’s on-court screaming was heavily criticised…
Seles, now 31, but who has yet to formally retire from the sport, never won Wimbledon but won 10 Grand Slam titles, all accompanied by what became a trademark grunt.
Tournament referee Alan Mills claimed recently that all the screaming by players like Sharapova as well as a host of others was a blight on the game.
"As you know, I was one of the original grunters," said Seles during a Centre Court interview conducted during a four-and-a-half hour rain delay.
"But Jimmy Connors used to grunt way before I was born. I never knew I was grunting, it was just part of my strokes.
"I always grunted much more when the going got tough and I can see that in the girls now.
"I don’t think Maria is grunting now more than she used to. The maturity she is showing is really very impressive."
Seles hasn’t played on the tour since June 2003 because of a foot injury but has yet to officially retire.
"My life is definitely in tennis. I’m still playing," she said.
"I’m trying to give stuff back coaching kids in America and Canada but I’m also studying a little bit of architecture."
Seles has won all the major titles except Wimbledon; the closest she came was finishing as runner-up in 1992 to Steffi Graf.