It used to be that someone was said to grunt like a pig. Well, that was until “grunting” became a phenomenon in the sport of tennis. Top seed Maria Sharapova is not just the number one female player, but she also ranks as the loudest “grunter” in tennis with decibels as high as 101 – the equivalent of a small plane.
This grunting — which for many years has been a hot issue, especially among long-time tennis fans who say it’s too barbarous for the sport — could soon be a thing of the past. The Women’s Tennis Association, the International Tennis Federation and all four major tournaments are proposing a new handheld device for umpires to measure on-court grunting levels. The response to this has created as much noise at the grunting itself.
Some fans and players were quick to call the suggestion ridiculous, but the WTA emailed a statement to The Takeaway standing by their previous recommendation:
The WTA, ITF, and Grand Slams aim to drive excessive grunting out of the game, while ensuring that we do not drive our current generation of players — who were taught to play this way — out of the game. This is a start of a sport-wide plan responsibly dealing with the issue through player education and objective rule changes.
Emily Hardan is a recent graduate of Syracuse University who just began playing professional tennis. Amanda Augustus is the head women’s tennis coach at UC Berkeley.