Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grunting in Women's Tennis

Female tennis players grunt too much:
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ian Ritchie admitted tournament officials were becoming increasingly uneasy about the practice.
As the Championships celebrate its 125th anniversary this year Mr Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club (AELTC), said fans were also becoming frustrated with loud players who they believe are spoiling the game.
He blamed younger players, whom he said suffered from an “education problem” about the issue.
On the first day of the SW19 championships, Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, a player often criticised for her wails, edged towards record noise levels as she made her debut on Court No 2.
Noise machines recorded her reach a level of 95 decibels as she shrieked her way through the first round match against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova.

Spectators looked on amused, not only at the volume but also the length of her roars, which exceeded 1.5 seconds almost every time she hit the ball before play was suspended due to rain.
Mr Ritchie, a former television and news agency executive, admitted that officials would “prefer to see less grunting”.

Do male tennis players grunt?

Weight lifters do grunt or yell which is the same thing as what this article calls "shrieking." As this quote from the linked article notes, grunting can help the athlete:
Fourth seed Azarenka, 21, was forced to defend her noisy play when spectators began to mimic the din two years ago.
“People can do whatever they want but I hope they can respect all the players who grunt, which are about 70 per cent of the whole tour,” she said.
“I have been doing it since I was 10 years old. I wasn’t really strong and that was what helped me to accelerate more, to put more power to the ball.
“I cannot change it, that’s what helps me to play. I have to keep going with the thing that helps me play.”
The obvious question to ask is whether the audiences would be equally bothered by grunting men.