Wimbledon is well underway and with it comes one of the grandest summer traditions in sports – people asking why women’s tennis players grunt so loud.The Telegraph has another “exclusive” investigation into the problem at the All-England Club, including comments from tennis officials looking to silence the more enthusiastic players.
But as Jezebel helpfully chronicled, this is not even close to a new phenomenon or a new complaint.
Ever since Monica Seles grunted her way onto the scene in the 1990s, folks have wondered why the ladies make so much noise. Men can be vocal too, but there’s no denying that some top female players are especially loud on the court.
Part of it stems from concentration and effort. (The grunting helps players channel their energy for each shot.) Part of it is intimidation/distraction. It’s an arms of race of sorts, between certain players, to see who can be the most “enthusiastic.” It’s just part of the game now.
So what is to be done? Well, for all of tennis’ decorum and tradition, no one should really tell players how to play the game. There is a little bit of sexism involved. No one would ever tell Jimmy Connors or Andre Agassi to keep it down.
On the other hand, it is annoying. We had to mute Maria Sharapova’s first-round match the other day, because the noise was just too distracting. (We were also watching in the office, but that’s another story.)
The bottom line is that grunting in tennis is like the weather. Everyone complains, but no one does anything about it.
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