Thursday, 9 July 2015

A big noise in tennis

One of many unattractive trends in professional sport is the rise of grunting in tennis, although it isn't new and with some of the women players it is more of a loud shriek than a grunt. From the BBC we have.

Is grunting louder than a lawn mower a natural part of tennis or is it unsporting behaviour?

Should it be accepted as being part of the game or should rules be introduced to outlaw players from exhaling so loudly when they hit the ball that noise levels exceed 100 decibels?

Grunting became topical again at Wimbledon when Belarusian Victoria Azarenka was forced to defend her on-court noises following a quarter-final loss to Serena Williams - and another 'shrieker', Maria Sharapova, is in semi-final action against Williams on Thursday.

I watched part of the Azarenka / Williams match and from my perspective Azarenka's incessant shrieking made the game unwatchable, but I'm not a fan and fans are wired up differently.

Although grunts and shrieks are supposed to help players hit the ball harder, gamesmanship seems at least as likely. These people are professionals and sporting ideals are not high on the to-do list.

When each player has a retinue of agents, fitness specialists, coaches, diet advisers, psychologists and managers, top tennis has become a business, not a game for individuals. Winning is the name of the game and any legitimate advantage is bound to be used if it actually works.


Mac said...

And have you seen the prize money?

I'd be happy to roll up on day one, shake hands, spin a coin, collect my cheque and go home.

A K Haart said...

Mac - yes it's huge. I wonder how much the BBC pays to show it.

Anonymous said...

Posh 'bread and circuses'. Mrs R likes tennis but thinks the shrieking is a bit much. Three shrieks and you're out would be good.

Thankfully it will soon be over.

Unknown said...

I am a lover of tennis and I came to prefer the women's game as it related more (but only slightly more) to the game I once played! Then shrieking arrived and I can no longer watch the ladies play with the sound up. It is quite ridiculous and, in my view, completely unnecessary. Whilst I'm about it: how can we get rid of the commentators? I have often said that if I were fortunate enough to be at Wimbledon and had three natterers sitting just behind me I would be very angry and lose no time in telling them to shut up! Yes a commentator might be useful when something needs explaining but 99% of their comments are meaningless.

Demetrius said...

Sixty years ago a young lady moving in social circles in my locality was known as Big Totty The Grunter, only she did not play tennis.

A K Haart said...

Roger - I used to play and watch tennis, but like many professional sports it has become a show rather than a sporting contest. The glitz, social cachet and celebrities matter more than the underlying sport.

Henry - yes, tennis commentators are hardly necessary as there is no great mystery about what is going on. It doesn't need much explaining.

Demetrius - reminds me of a young lady known locally as Pumpkin.

Unknown said...

AK Further to your comment: The presentation of ALL sport has now become a major production. The show, the ballyhoo, the fanfares, the flag flying, the parading of small children to show WHAT? All of this sickens me. It's only a bloody game!

FrankC said...

I happened to catch one of the women's singles matches on tv. Didn't see the picture at first so from the grunts and shrieks I thought it was a nature documentary about vixens in heat. Then I saw the pictures and thought "not wrong there".

Sen. C.R.O'Blene said...

It's a shame that they're all yelling and shrieking 'like a trollope fetching off" (Mutiny on The Bounty), and it's a sad decision not to watch ladies tennis, which is much more interesting than men's!

Mrs Scroblene and I will be collecting blackcurrants instead and freezing them this afternoon. We'll have our own banter as a background noise...

wiggiatlarge said...

I'm all for banning grunting in sport, the only problem is that in football for many players it is the only form of communication they have !

A K Haart said...

Henry - it turns me off sport too, which is a pity because without the ballyhoo and cynical professionalism sport is a good thing.

Frank - yes there's something primitive about it, not just the lure of money.

Scrobs - blackcurrants are better than tennis. I wonder if blackcurrant gin is any good?

Wiggia - "me want win" is the translation I use.