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I thought I'd share this here. I totally agree that it affecs the play. If you can't hear the contact, you just don't know what kind of power the shot has.

Linda Pearce
December 19, 2007

SILENCE please! Former Wimbledon finalist Judy Dalton says the time has come to put an end to a blight on tennis — the grunt.

Dalton, the winner of nine grand slam doubles titles, claims she would have been prepared to forfeit a match against the grunter par excellence, Maria Sharapova — and has urged the current generation of tennis players to do so.

"If that was me and I was playing Sharapova, I would be saying, 'If you continue with that you can have the match, I'll walk off, and I'll lodge a complaint,' " Dalton told The Age.

"The other girls should say 'Fine, I'll forfeit the match.' " She nominated the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, as two of the other main grunt offenders. "Will it happen? I don't think so," she said.

Action against the grunt has been rare. Among the exceptions was the 2003 Wimbledon warm-up event at Birmingham, when Sharapova was warned by officials after her opponent, Nathalie Dechy — and players on an adjacent court — complained about the noise.

At Wimbledon, the London tabloids' famous grunt-o-meter has recorded Sharapova's noise level at 101.2 decibels — the equivalent, apparently, of a police siren at close range or a small aircraft landing nearby.

Former Australian great John Newcombe has previously described it as "cheating".

"It's actually what I consider legalised cheating, because one of your great senses that you have on a tennis court is your ability to hear the ball come off your opponent's strings," Newcombe said last year. The player who can't hear the ball is effectively flying blind.

Dalton agrees — "They use it as a tactic so you can't hear the ball" — and laments what she believes is the WTA's unwillingness to deal with the issue for fear of alienating some of the sport's biggest and most influential drawcards.

"I find it exceedingly frustrating that the WTA have not done anything about it," Dalton said. "It seems to me that any time there's any problems with any of 'the stars', that they're just too frightened to say anything to anybody, for fear of their jobs."

Sharapova and others, including the ur-grunter, Monica Seles, have always argued that the noises are involuntary. Under the rules of tennis, the chair umpire must be convinced that they are excessive and intentional. If so, "any continual distraction of regular play, such as grunting, shall be dealt with as follows: for the first offence, a let should be called and the player should be told that any such hindrance thereafter will be ruled deliberate. Any hindrance caused by a player that is ruled deliberate will result in the loss of a point."

Two years ago at Wimbledon, more than a decade after Nathalie Tauziat's sensational complaint against Seles, tournament referee Alan Mills accused quieter players of trying to out-psyche noisy opponents by copying their behaviour.

"Many of the non-grunting players are unhappy about the noise pollution and a kind of counter-grunt culture has emerged in recent years whereby offended parties ape their opponent's noises."

Australian Open referee Wayne McKewen confirmed that a chair umpire would only consider taking action if a complaint was made by an opponent or if it was thought that the grunting was intentional to hinder the other player. In that case, he said, the umpire would speak to the player involved.

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Sharapova is completely able to play without grunting. This past Aussie Open was a good example. I forget who she was losing to, (which is a horrible habit), but she stopped all that uneccesary grunting and won. Go figure.

I don't grunt when I play. But I have tried it some to see if it made me a pro. ;-) Actually, I kind of liked the feeling of it, it seems to release nerves and pressure. But I get too self concious and alway quiet down and next thing you know I've stopped grunting alltogether. The amplitude that Masha uses is out of line for sure. And Blue, I think I remember what you are talking about ... I've heard commentators point out that she has stopped grunting. I guess, I think if it is kept under control it should be allowed.

You know, come to think of it, I grunt when I play. It's not loud or forceful, it just comes out.
I don't think grunting should be banned, but IF and only IF the umpire or refs can determine that it's be done purposely to "cheat", they could give the player a warning or something. But, how does one monitor grunting? That would be odd.

They should have a decibel reader! LOL. Actually it is pretty easy. The could set rules that determine at what decibel the grunting affects the opponent. Then if they sense that someone is too loud, they can whip out the meter! :-) But seriously...

What level of tennis do you play Blue? Play league or tourneys?

You know, that's a good plan. They may just do that, if anyone suggests it.

I'm a park player LOL! I can serve and keep the ball in play. I've signed up to join a league around here, and they were like "we'll call you." Hmm...
That's how it goes. i was a park player for 10 years and then said, well maybe i should get something regular going.... actually, now I play in a ladder and usta touneys. I'm not sure the league team thing is right for me because I don't like losing when it affects someone else.
I thikn Masha is out of control. I know some ladies who can almost keep up. :-)
i think you should be aloud to grunt because a lot of people dont mean to do it bt if you do it on purpose i think ya should be fiend like a game or pointor something like dat if ya mean 2 do it
Yeah... but how would the umpire know if you did it on purpose or not?
I think they should set a loudness limit and get the decibel reader out there if they suspect it's getting to loud. :-)
This is sort of off topic and I'm not a hater,
but this evening while Serena was playing (and I was fixin me a sandwich), I thought mens tennis was on. From far off, her grunts sound like a mans'.
Again, I'm not a hater, I was just shocked at myself for thinking it was a man...

LOL enough said there. good ol' hormones. she's strong no doubt about it.

Have you noticed Nadal grunting? Like ShaRAPova, he does this drawn out sigh/grunt/wail thing that lasts up until his opponent actually hits the ball. Blake will give a grunt at times when he rips a forehand, but it's just right before he hits the ball and that's it.

Mark, like the decibel idea. the chair ump can tell the fans to put a lid on it, so why not a wailer/grunter? you could also measure the duration, like say it has to stop by the time the ball reaches the opponent's court. just my two cents....
Skeet, I think we should petition the ATP and WTA. ;-) I like the second component to the "regulation" you added. The duration is key. If they are doing it so late, it just becomes an irritation.


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