When 21-year-old Australian Ashleigh Barty stepped into Rod Laver arena for her first round Australian Open clash against 19-year-old Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, she knew what to expect.
She knew her opponent, ranked world number 66, had a history of screaming, or grunting, after every shot she hit. And she knew it would be distracting.
But as prepared as she was, Barty admitted after the match – which she won 6-7 6-4 6-4 – that her opponent’s sounds were louder than she expected.
“I knew it was coming but it was a bit louder than I thought,” she told reporters after the clash.
“But I knew I had to let that go and just concentrate on myself.