Women’s tennis more racket than racquet

Quiet sophistication: Margaret Court
Quiet sophistication: Margaret Court

SO there I was chopping up some onions when I froze mid-chop, knife suspended in mid-air.

The most heinous noise had assaulted my ears. If someone had walked past the kitchen window at that point and witnessed me with my Sabatier aloft and heard the blood-curdling scream for themselves, they may well have thought I had just committed murder.

We don’t own a cat so it wasn’t down to feline strangulation. And as far as I was aware no-one was attempting to reverse a car with a slipping fan-belt down our drive.

After a Miss Marple-like investigation, I finally located the source of the horrendous sound: the television was on in the next room and Maria Sharapova was playing. And every shot delivered by the statuesque Russian was accompanied by an ear-splitting screech capable of blowing the cap off the Robinson’s Barley Water. Forehand, backhand, volley, serve, lob – not one stroke executed without the woman wailing like a banshee. Talented she may be, but surely the only way to watch her is with the sound muted. I prayed for the souls of those with court-side seats. How can she be allowed to get away with it? What has happened to Wimbledon standards – and morals.

Skirts have got shorter (and tighter) and the real ladies who showed grace and true sportsmanship are sadly missing from the game. The likes of Evonne Goolagong, Margaret Court and Virginia Wade never resorted to this ridiculous screaming.