Grunters

With Monica Seles just being inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, it reminds us that sheseles2 was one of the first women to create a stir not only with her great play, but with her great grunts.

Today’s game, especially in the women’s side, has changed from “grunts” to “shrieks.” Is it too much?

According to outgoing WTA chief Larry Scott, “I’ve been used to hearing that controversy this [Wimbledon] fortnight over 20 years. The other 50 weeks of the year I would not say it has been a significant issue.” “[But] this year it has expanded beyond that. At Roland Garros, I agree, we started hearing about this and reading about it in a way we hadn’t before outside Wimbledon. Based on that we have started a process of looking at it more carefully,” he said.

As a grunter myself, I am sympathetic to players who release air from their lungs on a serve or tough shot; but the volume level has gotten too high. And what is the rule during play?

Theoretically, I believe you can actually take the point if your opponent’s noise bothered you DURING YOUR STROKE; but no one ever tries to call – or calm – their opponents. In a friendly singles match with Joe McAleer over the winter, I served and did NOT play his return of serve; because I mistook his grunt for a “Noooo” call on my serve. We played two; but what was the rule?

And what can the pro’s do about the noise level? Tough to make a rule on “how loud” you are allowed to be when you exhale!

2 thoughts on “Grunters

  1. As a fan I personally find it annoying when there is constant screaming on the court. A long rally by Serena/Maria is like watching tennis next to an airport. A player has the right to demand silence from the fans but not from there opponent? It is one thing to scream on a serve, overhead or lunge volley but to cut loose the entire match is something else. The cynical side of me says that is done to distract but I’m sure that is to harsh. So I think if it is part of their tennis “MO” then you have to accept it but if it is only done on critical points, you might have the right to object.

    On a personal side, I’ve never played anyone that screams constantly so I don’t know what it is like to play a match but I think I would be somewhat distracted.

  2. most “grunters” are hardly aware they grunt, it’s so much a part of their game. When my grunting causes confusion with my opponent on a point, i will always offer to replay the point (or even give them the point). it usually only happens once (at the most twice) in a match. i usually try to tone it down (if i can) whenever i can.
    as far as being a spectator, the recent “screams” that some of the professional woman players are emitting can be annoying. Eventually, these woman players will realize that it’s not very attractive, and it doesn’t help that much. Then they will tone it down. as a spectator, i have no idea where the grunting is going to go, but it really can’t get much worse.

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