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The War Against Grunting At Wimbledon

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Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino
Pic: Bruno Girin

Grunting in women’s tennis, appealing or off-putting? According to the chat at Wimbledon, off-putting. The public and pundits have spoken and there is growing pressure on the games finest to cut it out of their game.

But is it voluntary or involuntary?

Multiple Grand Slam Martina Navratilova told the ITF’s Philippe Chatrier Award dinner that, “the grunting has reached an unacceptable level. It is cheating, pure and simple. It is time for something to be done.”

She argues Roger Federer hardly makes a peep when he hits the ball.

Putting aside the issue of whether it is a form of cheating, used as it is by some as a tactic to distract their opponents, some players concede it is something they have done since they first picked up a racket and they can’t drop the habit.

They argue it helps them put that extra ounce of force or sting into their shots and therefore they should be allowed to do it during a match.

But there is no way to prove that it definitely helps boost power.

It is a habit they have formed, something that is now embedded in the generation who grew up watching Monica Seles, the first overt grunter. 

The tide of public opinion is turning against the grunters.

Former Wimbledon champ Michael Stich controversially said that women players should not grunt because it was not sexy and sex appeal was the main attraction of women's tennis!

For many it is an off-putting and unappealing, not what you want to hear at a family friendly sporting event!

Players have been threatened with fines and could possibly lose points in the wake of growing concerns for the image of the game. 

According to the rules of the game, "If the player is hindered on the point by a deliberate act of the opponent, the player shall win the point."

This could be the only recourse for officials to stamp it out of the game. 


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