Ban Grunting at Wimbledon? You Cannot be Serious!
Wimbledon has always been a tennis tournament enshrined in tradition. The finely trimmed grass courts, the spectators munching on perfectly ripened strawberries and the players innocently clad in all white. Save the Creedence Clear Water Revival playing over the PA system during the intermission and Venus Williams’ Lady Gaga-esque outfits for the US Open, thank you very much.
It therefore comes as no surprise that Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club, has lambasted female tennis players for grunting, claiming that it spoils the game and annoys spectators.
The claims come after Belarusian Victoria Azarenka managed to howl out at an astounding 95 decibels on the first day of the tournament. In the same match, battling against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova, Azarenka let out a shriek that lasted a second and a half.
“The players have an ability to complain about it – if one player is grunting too much and the other player doesn’t like it and it is distracting, they can complain to the umpire,” Ritchie told the Daily Telegraph.
Is this really such a big deal? It was to my understanding that grunting female tennis stars only increased the fan appeal of the sport. Would Maria Sharapova be considered one of the world’s sexiest women if she hadn’t unleashed a record 105-decibel grunt in 2009? Well, probably, but the extra incentive helps.
Furthermore, women’s tennis currently reeks of sex appeal. Never before as so much emphasis been placed on fashion in tennis and more female tennis stars are following in the foot steps of Anna Kournikova by taking on a extravagant part-time modeling jobs. As my own dad puts it, “These days, they’re just as nice to listen to as they are to look at.”
By this point, grunting as become so manifest in women’s tennis that the players consider as much a part of their game as their top-spin. “I have been doing it since I was 10 years old. I wasn’t really strong and that was what helped me to accelerate more, to put more power to the ball,” said Azarenka, seeded fourth at this year’s Wimbledon. “I cannot change it, that’s what helps me to play. I have to keep going with the thing that helps me play.”
There we have it; if it helps the players and amuses the fellas, then I don’t see why there need to be such vehement calls to expel it from tennis. Grunt-offs are half the fun of the WPTA tour anyway, as the clip below demonstrates.
Photo courtesy of Fox News
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