Maria Sharapova of Russia.
Maria Sharapova of Russia.

What happened to plan to silence shriekers?

It is seven years now since the Women's Tennis Association outlined admirable - but sadly unfulfilled - plans to eradicate excessive grunting.

As well-intended as former WTA chairman and chief executive Stacey Allaster was in 2012 when she said "it is time for us to drive excessive grunting out of the game for future generations", nothing has changed.

And it took exactly one rally at Melbourne Park to prove it.

If anything, judging by Maria Sharapova's loathsome screeching, the problem has worsened.

Tennis devotees - those at Melbourne Park and elsewhere - detest the habit.

One spectator brandished a sign during the warm-up which read: "Quiet please, Sharapova. Barty is ready to play."

It made no difference to Sharapova, wailing on virtually every stroke in every rally.

While there was no obvious antagonism initially towards the former world No.1 - probably because Barty played so well - patience eventually evaporated.

A double fault in the eighth game of the first set was unfairly cheered, a breach of crowd etiquette once unimaginable in Australia.

Sharapova was booed after a seven-minute toilet break between the second and third sets, confirmation of her role in Heroine and Villain.

Sharapova is hardly alone in this offence. There are plenty of men who assail the senses with unnecessary grunting.

Sharapova makes no apologies for the exaggerated shrieking.

The howling is as much a part of her routine as her widely mocked process between points.

With five majors in the bank, Sharapova knows what works and what doesn't.

To be blunt, she doesn't give a fig what spectators, media or even her rivals think.

The Russian is probably not the loudest on the decibel count, but it so happens she is the best known.

Her profile presents the WTA and other officials with the problem Allaster attempted to address in 2012.

Tennis is crammed with mimics. There are armies of aspiring future champions convinced Sharapova's squawking is a necessary element to become a champion.

Tennis purists believe her exertions after the ball has left her racquet are nothing less than deliberate hindrance.

Cheating, in other words.

Martina Navratilova and John Newcombe have repeatedly called out grunting for what it is.

Unnecessary and grating.

Barty ignored Sharapova's excesses for almost two-and-a-half hours. In the end, to the raptures of the locals, she silenced The Grunter in the best possible way.