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Michelle Larcher de Brito Draws Ire for Loud Grunting

May 30, 2009 – 3:48 PM
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Michael David Smith

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Michelle Larcher de Brito is a 16-year-old from Portugal who lost in the third round of the French Open, and most years a young player who exits in the third round wouldn't get much attention. But Larcher de Brito grunts, groans and shrieks while she's playing, and that has made her the focus of much negative attention this year at Roland Garros.

Aravane Rezai, who beat Larcher de Brito, was so furious about all the noise coming from her opponent that she complained to the chair umpire and even went so far as to request that a referee come onto the court. Larcher de Brito was informed that she was distracting Rezai, but no other action was taken. Larcher de Brito said afterward that she doesn't intend to change her approach:
"You know, when she was winning, she never complained. Only when I started to get my game going, I started winning games, then all of a sudden, you know, my noise is a nuisance. ... I mean, I could (stop grunting), but, you know, it won't feel natural, because it feels like something is missing in my game if I just stop."
A rule exists in tennis that would allow the chair umpire to award a point to Larcher de Brito's opponents if they're distracted by her yelling, although so far that rule hasn't been used against Larcher de Brito. And let's hope it isn't. The rule is utterly ridiculous, and if Larcher de Brito's groaning helps her put a little extra oomph into her shots, her opponents should just get used to it.

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Michelle Larcher de Brito Photos

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito reacts after loosing against France's Aravane Rezai during a French Open tennis third round match on May 29, 2009 at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. The event, the second Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from May 25 to June 7, 2009. Rezai won 7/6,6/2. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito returns a ball to France's Aravane Rezai during a French Open tennis third round match on May 29, 2009 at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. The event, the second Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from May 25 to June 7, 2009. Rezai won 7/6,6/2. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito jubilates after winning a point against France's Aravane Rezai during a French Open tennis third round match on May 29, 2009 at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. The event, the second Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from May 25 to June 7, 2009. Rezai won 7/6,6/2. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito returns the ball to France's Aravane Rezai during their third round match at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

    AP

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito reacts after losing a point to France's Aravane Rezai during their third round match at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

    AP

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito reacts after losing a point to France's Aravane Rezai during their third round match at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

    AP

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito reacts after losing a point to France's Aravane Rezai during their third round match at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

    AP

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito reacts to play against France's Aravane Rezai during a French Open tennis third round match on May 29, 2009 at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. The event, the second Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from May 25 to June 7, 2009. Rezai won 7/6,6/2. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito reacts after loosing against France's Aravane Rezai during a French Open tennis third round match on May 29, 2009 at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. The event, the second Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from May 25 to June 7, 2009. Rezai won 7/6,6/2. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito reacts after losing a point to France's Aravane Rezai during their third round match at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday May 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

    AP

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