As a matter of fact I cannot hear you. I was just watching a couple of the womens tennis matches at Wimbledon; I’m pretty much hard of hearing for the next couple of hours after all the screeching my poor ear drums endured.
There’s nothing worse than enjoying a kick-ass sport like tennis, only for it to be ruined by the grunt, howls, screeching, and flat out yelling that some of the players make. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the opponent on the other side of the court, and I don’t understand why the players haven’t said anything about it to the umpires.
There are a few key players, mostly on the womens side, that reach high decibels of volume. But why? Is it a distraction? Is it to demonstrate that they’re working hard? Is it a mental tactic, ritual, what? What could possibly make screaming and grunting such a common noise for tennis players?
Top grunters at Wimbledon 2011:
- Maria Sharapova
- Venus Williams
- Francesca Schiavone
- Maria Kirilenko
- Rafael Nadal
Yes, the grunt can come from working hard, especially when serving or running to hit a forehand or backhand, but on every shot? It can’t be a distraction tactic, I mean, most players at the level know how to channel the outside distractions away from their game and allow themselves to completely focus on the task at hand. Or is it something they were taught as juniors? That might be something their coaches taught them to do, to keep the player breathing during match play. I can understand that, whatever you have to do to keep the oxygen coming in, but really, that loud? Coaches should let the tennis racquets do the talking.
This years Wimbledon is already filled with screamers, grunters, screechers, yellers, and howlers. What’s really interesting is that the tennis players are not the ones complaining, it’s the spectators that are a little disturbed by the constant “aaahhhhh heeeeeee” (Francesca Sciavone) on the court, I’m sure they feel that the screaming is taking away from the All England Club experience, and quite frankly, I don’t blame them for being upset about it. The chair umpires can’t necessarily say anything to the player who’s grunting, since the rules state that if it is a hindrance to the opponent and there is a complaint, that is the only time the rule can be enforced. So pretty much, if the opponent doesn’t complain about the noise, play shall continue.
I do have a theory behind the reason for extra loud grunting on shots, I believe it could be that the loud grunt somehow is supposed to disguise how the tennis racquet and the ball make contact. I know it’s a long shot, but think about this; the ball coming off the strings make a unique sound, and different shots (i.e. top spin, flat, slice, power, etc.) make different contact sounds, right? So the loud screaming from the tennis players could be a tactic to hide the contact sound so the opponent does not know what’s coming at them…I think I’m onto something. However, if it were to actually be a disguise that really actually works, don’t you think every single tennis player on earth would do the same thing? Probably, so that theory is already losing it’s probability.
I guess I will continue to watch some tennis with the TV on mute and wait until the USTA & ITF decide to do something about it, or at least tell the screamers to bring it down a notch. Right?