At some point during Maria Sharapova's second-round match, I searched for "Sharapova" on Twitter for a reason I've since forgotten and was astounded at how many of the comments were about her grunting. It's not as if tennis fans don't notice the grunting, they're just so accustomed to it that there's no need to tweet about it. (And even then, we still do.) But there's a whole population that doesn't watch tennis and is only vaguely familiar with the grunting of Maria Sharapova, so when they flip on ESPN2 looking for Skip Bayless, they're stunned by the noise and feel compelled to share their feelings via social media.
All of that is a long way of saying that I searched for "Azarenka" on Twitter today to see what people were saying about her grunting. These were the first 11 results.
Eleven comments during a blockbuster women's semifinal involving Serena Williams and each were about the noise being emitted, not the beautiful play on the court.
The grunting is an epidemic. Current fans of the sport may suffer through it but potential fans won't feel the need to. The WTA feels that eliminating grunting at a grass-roots level will be enough. By the time that happens, the casual fans may be long gone.