Gauff Defends Sabalenka Amid Grunt Distraction Debates After Australian Open Loss

Gauff Defends Sabalenka Amid Grunt Distraction Debates After Australian Open Loss

by Zachary Wimer

Coco Gauff refused to blame Aryna Sabalenka and her grunting after losing to her at the 2024 Australian Open.

Many tennis players grunt during play, but it's somewhat more prevalent on the women's side of the sport. Quite a few have been described as having excessive and unnecessary noise history, with Sabalenka's being one of those.

She grunts pretty loudly, screaming almost during play, and it can be quite jarring for some opponents. Gauff has, of course, having played Sabalenka a few times, experienced this, and it's not something that particularly bothers her.

She famously complained about Martina Trevisan's grunting during their Roland Garros match two years ago when she made the final. This time around, she refused to call Sabalenka's grunting distracting.

After all, she beat her at the US Open a few months ago, so it clearly didn't bother her then. This time, she lost and refused to say that her opponent's grunting would be bothering it, mostly because she thinks it's consistent.

"No. I mean, I played her a lot, so I can't sit here and say that the grunt is distracting. I don't even know, it's like the fifth time we have played."

"No, I don't think so. I don't notice, you know, when -- I feel like at least with her it's consistent, so it doesn't bother me. I mean, I've played a player in the past where the grunt wasn't consistent where they would grunt longer on purpose on 30-All or deuce point."

Gauff mentioned some players who grunt in a pretty unusual way or extend it on purpose, but with Sabalenka, there are no irregularities.

"If it's consistent, I can't really say anything about it. I don't think you're supposed to grunt while the person is hitting. Like I said, I didn't notice it. When you playing her, you know that's what she's going to do."

"I don't think it's a tactic or anything. I think that's just how she plays tennis. I think that's just her. It's fine. There has been other grunters in the past. It doesn't bother me."


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