An Australian favourite has caused a stir with a massive dig at Maria Sharapova and her infamous grunting.
The Russian tennis star is well-known for her loud outbursts after hitting her shots during rallies.
She’s been doing it her whole career, irking many fans and commentators in the process.
And it appears one of her many critics is Vegemite…yes you read that correctly.
Vegemite, an official Australian Open sponsor, have erected a number of billboards around Melbourne Park, referencing the tennis in different ways.
One billboard says Vegemite ‘tastes like a Barty party at Melbourne Park’, but it’s one about Sharapova that’s caused a stir.
Tastes like: a Barty Party at Melbourne Park 🎉 Grab your #VEGEMITEAussie Pack & join the #BartyArmy as we cheer on @ashbar96 👏🎾🇦🇺Available exclusively at the @AustralianOpen & our #MiteyMerch store: https://t.co/8sa6ns2w0z #AusOpen #VEGEMITEBallkids #BartyParty pic.twitter.com/HjVNk14hXz
— Vegemite (@Vegemite) January 21, 2019
Vegemite ‘tastes like quite please, Maria’, the billboard reads, referencing Sharapova’s shrieking.
The billboard has caused some controversy, with American tennis writer Ben Rothenberg describing it as ‘savage’.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 24, 2019
Definitely don’t like sponsors getting involved in this kind of rubbish. Totally not on.
— zed (@BenPtrc) January 24, 2019
we all understand to whom it is addressed…100% rude. Shame on them.
— Irina.bia (@BiaIrin) January 24, 2019
Vegemite isn’t the first to take exception to Sharapova’s antics.
Will Swanton of the Australian described Sharapova’s screams as “appalling” earlier this week.
“Sharapova’s Cold Chisel-scale screaming gets louder, and lasts longer, the more desperate her situation,” he wrote.
“There’s times when Sharapova is still hollering when (Ash) Barty hits a shot. It’s an all-too-obvious bid to distract an opponent. It’s appalling and, thankfully, it doesn’t work.”
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Leo Schlink of the Herald Sun called on the WTA to stamp out excessive grunting.
“Tennis devotees — those at Melbourne Park and elsewhere — detest the habit,” Schlink wrote.
“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.”