While the Pimm's flows and the strawberries and cream is devoured amongst the freshly mowed courts at this year's The Championships at Wimbledon, spectators might wonder if there's another competition happening on the court during the ladies' game: which tennis star is the loudest grunter?
For what is perceived by many as the most elite tennis tournament on the calendar, the annual summer event is beginning to sound a bit like the film "Braveheart," with the loud groans echoing off of center court.
Grunts from Belarusian tennis champion and current number six player on the women's tour, Victoria Azarenka, hit 95 decibels recently. And Russian-American former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova hit 105 a few years back.
Six-time and returning Wimbledon champion, Serena Williams, who is returning to the women's tour after nearly a year off the courts due to serious illness, topped off at 91 decibels last year, according to reports.
For the record, the sound from a blender registers at 98 decibels.
Azarenka, who now calls Scottsdale, Ariz., home, has said that the release of grunting helps her put more power in her shots.
"Everybody has their own habits," Azarenka recently told Star Sports. "Somebody jumping in front, before the serve, somebody like me, grunt, somebody does this, everybody's individual, that's why it's an individual sport."
But the relatively quiet on-the-court tennis great, and 18-time singles Grand Slam champion, Martina Navratilova says that she doubts the extreme grunting now as much a part of the women's game as a forehand or backhand is really necessary.
"They are making sounds like they are lifting 300 pounds, and it's not the case. The ball is not that heavy," Navratilova said.
The symphony of screeching is an annual controversy in England, with all of the decorum, attention to social graces and stiff upper lip stuff that the country, and the Wimbledon Championships, brings.
The controversy has led some to suggest enforcing an all-out ban on grunting, arguing it is a distraction for players and a turn-off for fans.
Ian Ritchie, the CEO of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club has told England's The Telegraph newspaper he would prefer to see less grunting, adding that he feels it stems from an "education problem with younger players."
"We are one tournament in a global circuit. But we have made our views clear and we would like to see less of it," Ritchie said.
No Englishman or woman has taken the Wimbledon title since 1977.