Azarenka takes exception to questioning about noise

LONDON (AP) Victoria Azarenka didn't like the line of questioning at all.

The two-time Australian Open champion lost to Serena Williams 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 Tuesday on Centre Court in a high-quality match at Wimbledon, and was then asked about the crowd laughing at the two during play for making loud noises while hitting the ball.

''I'm so tired of these questions all the time,'' said Azarenka, a former top-ranked player from Belarus. ''It's so, in a way, annoying because guys grunt. I was practicing next to (Rafael) Nadal and he grunts louder than me.

''Look at the good stuff. Stop bringing this ridiculous stuff,'' Azarenka went on. ''Let's put aside the noise and how she looks, and look at the game. The game proved itself today.''

Many players, men and women, make loud noises during shots or just after. While some find the practice disturbing, many players say it just comes naturally.

On Tuesday, Azarenka started to produce louder noises as Williams started her comeback in the second set. But as Azarenka's volume grew, so did the sounds emanating from the other side.

It was then that the laughter from the crowd came while play was still going on, prompting chair umpire Marija Cicak to ask the spectators to quiet down.

Williams said she didn't think the crowd was purposefully being disrespectful, but as questions about the noise level persisted, the 20-time Grand Slam champion put a quick stop to the interrogation.

''I'm done with controversy,'' Williams said, raising her hand in the air. ''I can't. I'm tired. I have to do ice bath. If you have any other questions, I'm cool, but I'm done with that.''

Azarenka, getting more animated as she spoke in an earlier news conference, joked that maybe the people in the crowd had too much to drink.

''Every time the announcer says, `Make sure you hydrate yourself,' I think he means with water, not with alcohol,'' Azarenka said, before then turning the incident into a positive.

''So if they were laughing, that means in a way we put on a good show. For me, it doesn't matter. I'm there to play my best and try my hardest, and that's what I'm going to do. That's what Serena does. That's what every other woman out there is doing.''

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.