Aussie tennis star Olivia Rogowska has described the now infamous screeching levels of Belarusian tennis player Aryna Sabalenka as the "highest I have seen."
Knocked-out local Rogowska has waded into a renewed debate on grunting after countrywoman Ashleigh Barty and fans were driven to distraction by the on-court antics of Sabalenka on Tuesday night.
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Rogowska, who watched the first set of the match on Rod Laver Arena, said Sabalenka's screeching was "up there (with the) highest I have seen".
Despite encountering opponent noise in her 11-year professional career, the 26-year-old wasn't aware there was a rule that covered excessive grunting.
"I don't know what the rules are," Rogowska said after her loss to Ukrainian teen Marta Kostyuk on Wednesday.
"Obviously, I have never had the feeling where I have to grunt as loud as that.
"I have never really heard an umpire say, 'hey, you have to tone it down'.
"As a player, you try and block that out the best you can, and Ash did a great job last night blocking that out. Credit to her."
The 2018 WTA handbook states: "Any continual distraction of regular play, such as grunting, shall be dealt with in accordance with the Hindrance Rule."
This by-law, rarely enacted and at the complete discretion of the umpire, results in the loss of a point if ruled deliberate.
As it stands, the WTA's latest position is that "grunting is a natural part of the game" and more of an issue for fans than players.
"It's important that we address their concerns," read a WTA statement, obtained by AAP on Wednesday.
"Excessive grunting is being addressed through a commitment to an ongoing educational outreach."
The issue of grunting has fallen off the radar over the past 12 months with arguably the tour's two biggest serial offenders, doping offender Maria Sharapova and new mum Victoria Azarenka, forced off the tour for an extended time.
This Sabalenka is deadset grunting as the ball passes over , or has passed, the net. It’s bloody ridiculous. @WTA need to stamp out this crap. Makes tennis unwatchable.— Todd Balym (@balymt) January 16, 2018
Sorry @ashbar96 would love to keep watching and supporting you but can't take that prolonged screeching from Sabalenka anymore. An absolute disgrace!!! Good luck— Michael Christian (@Chrisso_21) January 16, 2018
But on Tuesday night, it reared its head during Barty's come-from-behind, three-set win.
Late in the second set, the crowd began laughing and mimicking Sabalenka's cries with the chair umpire stepping in to try to silence spectactors.
Rogowska sympathised with the match official, saying it was "a tough rule to assess."
The chair umpire interjected after the crowd mocked Sabalenka's shrieks. Pic: Ch7/Getty
In the aftermath of her 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-4 win, Barty admitted it took her a while to adjust.
"I knew it was coming," she said. "I was prepared for it.
"Obviously in the first couple of games, you get used to it. Everyone has a bit of a different grunt. But, no, you get used to it."
In 2011, current Australian Open second seed Caroline Wozniacki claimed "some players do it on purpose" to disguise the speed they hit the ball.
But Rogowska, who says she has never employed the alleged tactic, also saw it as a hindrance from the other angle.
"When you're hitting the ball, you're hearing something and you can't hit the ball on your strings as properly," she said.
"But I have never had it where I have lost a match because of it."