The battle continues… should grunting in tennis be illegal? As a tennis fan I often wonder if grunting on the courts has gotten so out of control that the once just annoying trend among some female players should be outlawed. Is it just irritating or is it cheating?
Tennis fans in Australia and England have voiced their opinions about Victoria Azarenka`s screaming but kept pretty quiet at the Sony Ericsson Open on Wednesday night when she played against Marion Bartoli who is virtually silent on the court.
Although grunting on the tennis court is shown to release stress, stabilize breathing and increase focus, stability and strength, stars like Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka may take their grunting too far.
Some tennis enthusiasts argue that grunting on the court should be considered illegal because it intentionally throws the grunters` opponent off because they can`t hear when the ball hits the tennis racquet.
Grunters like “Vika the Shrieka” claim that the sound they make when they hit the ball is natural and they can`t control it but as player, Caroline Wozniacki, pointed out, grunters don`t scream during practice.
Although Azarenka and Sharapova claim the noise is uncontrollable there’s no doubt that is not natural to make as much noise as a tractor, 100 decibels, which Maria Sharapova has reached in the past.
Tennis was much quieter in the past, so where did this grunting trend come from in women`s tennis? I would say that Monica (Moan-ica) Seles is to blame. She was the first prominent female grunter to enter the world of women`s tennis.
But it`s not just the women, male pros like Andre Agassi and Michael Chang are also guilty of out-of-control grunting.
International Tennis Federation Rule 26 (Hindrance), states that, “If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the opponent, the player shall win the point. However, the point shall be replayed if a player is hindered in playing the point by either an unintentional act of the opponent, or something outside the player`s own control.”
This rule is never really enforced but how can you say that 100 decibels isn’t intentional? The tennis community needs to speak up and have umpires start penalizing players for their deliberate hindrance!