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Tennis

Top female tennis players voice anger against sexism at Wimbledon tournament

Serena Williams celebrates after winning her match against Victoria Azarenka at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, 7 July 2015.
Serena Williams celebrates after winning her match against Victoria Azarenka at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, 7 July 2015. Reuters/Toby Melville

As the Wimbledon semi-finals are fast approaching, top female players have decided to fight sexism at the English championship.Victoria Azarenka was the first to take a stance against Wimbledon fans mocking her for on-court shrieking and grunting.

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On Tuesday, Azarenka and Serana Williams cranked up the volume on Centre Court during their gruelling quarter-final, which the American won 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to set-up a semi-final clash with Maria Sharapova.

But as the encounter's tension increased so did the mimicry of the fans inside the 15,000-capacity arena.

"I'm so tired of these questions all the time. It's so annoying because guys grunt. I was practicing next to Rafael Nadal, and he grunts louder than me, and nobody noticed that," former world number one Azarenka told reporters.

"It happens in every sport,” she added. “So I think maybe it's time to just put it aside and not talk about it all the time because this is not what is important when there are two players playing on the Centre Court”.

Azarenka believes fans on Centre Court should learn to behave.

The Belarusian advised them to ease up on their alcohol intake when they are spending all day in the sun watching the tennis.

Sharapova has also long been derided for her grunting and shrieking. Britain's famously inventive tabloid press have even utilised a "gruntometer" to measure the often ear-splitting shrieks of the top players.

World number one Serena Williams added said the laughing from the crowd often made it difficult for the players to make out line calls.

Williams didn’t stop there and also backed player Caroline Wozniacki comment on women’s matches being played away from the show courts to make way for men's games.

"I think a lot of us women feel like we deserve to play on the big courts in front of a big crowd as well,” Wozniacki said, according to Eurosport.

During the first week of Wimbledon, only 9 of the 24 matches scheduled on Centre Court were played by women.

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