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Tennis Grunters

Submitted by on June 23, 2011 – 6:30 pmNo Comment

June 23, 2011

Wimbledon has commenced. Serena is back, rain has caused delays – but not everything is the same at the venerable tournament. Ian Ritchie, the Chief Executive of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club has publically denounced grunting tennis players who are spoiling the game with their earspliting outbursts.

Is this a sexist comment? Why is no one talking about the men? But the issue is bigger than this. Plus, the women do it a lot more than the men.

Players who grunt maintain that they do so to release energy, focus and cannot be helped. Maria Sharapova has the loudest grunt to date – at about 105 decibels. That’s as loud as a jet. It’s unhealthy to be exposed to 110 decibels for a period of 30 minutes or more – and that exposure does not need to be sustained. So Sharapova’s grunting is close to being not just a nuisance, but a health hazard.

And Sharapova’s not the only one. There are others including Larcher de Brito, Elena Dementieva, Kim Clijsters, Anna Kournikova, Elena Bovina, Victoria Azarenka, Venus and Serena Williams, and Monica Seles.

Tennis legend Martina Navratllova was quoted as saying it’s “cheating, pure and simple” and notes that players must be able to hear the ball hit the racquet to gauge the power, speed, spin and depth of the shot.

Cheating or not – it’s annoying in this spectator sport. And if not annoying, it’s humourous. Wimbledon fans have been laughing it up a lot during the first week of play.

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