These days it's common to hear a woman's professional tennis match punctuated by loud grunts and outright screams whenever the ball is hit. Several players either claim that they can't help doing this, or even that it helps them concentrate:
Although at first her popularity among the public was not as much for her sportsmanship, as for her model looks and loaded grunts on court. Other players and even supervisors complained about the decibel level (measured at 101 DB) of her scream. But to most tennis fans her shouting was not such a big deal, and even gave the young beautiful player character and charm. She was nicknamed ‘Screaming Cinderella’ and ‘The Siberian Siren’ by the press. Maria herself says that the scream helps her concentrate.
However, this claim seems decidedly dodgy to me. Many a great female player of the modern era (Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, etc.) has played excellent tennis without screaming when hitting the ball. Moreover, the 2004 Wimbledon's ladies final was contested between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams - two of the loudest screamers in the woman's game today - and one of the most noticeable things about it was the complete lack of screaming.
The two of them played excellent quality tennis, as is widely attested, but shortly after it seems they decided that this quality could not be maintained unless they started screaming when hitting the ball.
Does the screaming help improve female players' tennis at all? Could it help them concentrate?