One shrieks, the other squeaks. The Australian Open women's final is guaranteed to be played at a high pitch, and I am not using a metaphor here. Maria Sharapova's shrieks grow louder as a match progresses, and Ivanovic's Australian Open squeaky shoes grate on the nerves--at least if you are a television viewer (or Daniela Hantuchova).
I miss players like Chris Evert, who dominated with shot-making and without noise. The steely look on Evert's face spoke louder than any scream. With today's power play, it is understandable that a number of players are going to grunt, but I still do not understand how screaming (which many commentators insist on calling grunting, for some reason)--a la Sharapova, Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka--came to be part of tennis. During the 2005 Sharapova-Williams Wimbledon semifinal, I had to turn off the sound for a while, so intense was the screaming from both players.
Hantuchova was the first player to complain to the umpire about Ivanovic's squeaky shoes, but her complaint fell on deaf ears. Ivanovic does a lot of footwork while her opponent is serving. There is nothing wrong with that--it is natural--but with those shoes, the result is that there are grating squeaks occurring right around the time of the ball toss. I have never heard Ivanovic's shoes squeak before (which doesn't mean they did not squeak--it just means that I do not recall that they did); it appears she is wearing a different type of shoe, or that her type of shoe has some unfortunate friction on the new Melbourne surface.
At any rate, you have been warned: The women's final is going to be loud, and not in a good way. The screaming cannot possibly be good for the Sharapova vocal cords, but she says it is the natural thing for her to do. I have gotten used to it, but I know I will never get used to the shoe-squeaking--here's hoping Ivanovic goes shoe-shopping some time soon.