The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

THE DISPLACED POLL: Who will win the Ladies’ Grunt Championship at Wimbledon?

Ah, the start of Wimbledon Fortnight. Two weeks of tennis whites, polite applause, Royalty, and strawberries and cream.

And grunts. Don’t forget the grunts. Especially the ladies’ grunts.

If some of the newspapers this week are to believed, that’s what modern tennis is all about.

The history of the grunt

Men’s tennis grunts started back in the 1970s with Jimmy Connors, and the popularity soon spread among the guys. In the 1988 US Open, Ivan Lendl complained about opponent Andre Agassi‘s grunts, saying they threw him, Lendl, off his timing.

Women’s tennis took a little longer to catch on, starting with Monica Seles‘s guttural shrieks in the 1990s. Once started, though, the women soon raised grunting to an art form, or at least another sport, putting the men’s feeble efforts to shame.

Serve in silence

Fans and media, however, are not amused by Centre Court’s soundtrack, and Martina Navratilova, a champion when women’s tennis was played in dignified silence, also disapproves. Her view is that the grunt masks the sound of the ball leaving the grunter’s racquet, putting the non-grunting opponent at a disadvantage.

“The grunting has reached an unacceptable level. It is cheating, pure and simple. It is time for something to be done.”

World Tennis Association chairman and chief executive, Stacey Allaster, agrees:

“It’s time for us to drive excessive grunting out of the game for future generations.”

Quite how this will be achieved, though, is rather vague. A fine for noisy players. perhaps? It would have to be a big one to have any effect. Michelle Larcher de Brito, the Portuguese player, and rumoured to be the next Maria Sharapova as far as grunt volume goes, reportedly said:

 “I’d rather get fined than lose a match because I had to stop grunting.”

The WTA is quick to point out that current players will not have to curb their on-court vocal emissions. The ban on grunts will be phased in after a period of educating up-and-coming players in grunt etiquette.

In the mean time, however, perhaps the solution would be to make Grunting an official Olympic sport, permissible only at Olympics (i.e. every four years) and not at Grand Slam tournaments.

With grunt decibel readings at similar levels to pneumatic drills, that would be music to everyone’s ears.

Judge for yourself:

Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka

Maria Sharapova – Russia

And vote for the Gold Medal Winner in our poll!

Image: MorgueFile

3 responses to “THE DISPLACED POLL: Who will win the Ladies’ Grunt Championship at Wimbledon?

  1. petchary June 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Absolutely ridiculous!! I used to follow tennis in the 1970s and especially remember Agassi’s vocalizing, which was considered very amusing and part of his nutty character. Nowadays though tennis seems to consist of hitting the ball as hard as you can – therefore the grunting has spread.
    I don’t watch it any more. The close-to-the net skills, vollies etc of Nastase et al are a thing of the past!

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