I discovered this article from The Telegraph, a British newspaper, about two weeks ago and was blown away by the content. Read the tagline and it’s not surprise I was hooked:
Exclusive: Female tennis players who grunt too loudly are putting off their opponents and spoiling the game for the millions of spectators, the head of Wimbledon says.
I must say that Sharapova’s grunting has always been a source of annoyance for me, but to have an entire article about it in a respectable newspaper is a bit much, don’t you think?
The article goes on to quote Ian Ritchie, the Wimbledon head, several times. He claimed that the problem was with the “education” of younger female players, who allegedly grunt in order to get the power they need to make their shots count.
Apparently, this all started when “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.”
Ritchie said that players can complain if their opponent is grunting “too loudly” to the point where it becomes distracting. And I would imagine that Azarenka’s grunts were distracting since they were each about 1.5 seconds long… And I thought Sharapova was bad…
But the real kicker is that they aim to do something about it. In the article, Ritchie says he’s made his views on the subject very clear, and he hopes to have something done about it in all the world tournaments.
My immediate thought was, “how do you control the amount of grunting…?”
Thankfully, The Telegraph had all the answers:
[Ritchie’s] comments about grunting came amid renewed debate by fans about what was an acceptable level of noise players could make as they attempted to win their match.
Well, there you have it. If you ask me, that’s some crazy micromanaging, but maybe there is some merit to it. Check out this video. It’s an Azarenka v. Sharapova match… I can’t tell who is worse.