Is GRUNTING good for the success and integrity of the game or is it turning more people and sponsors away? When all is said and done, the greater good of the game needs to come before individual players and what they choose to do. Everything should be done to maximise the number of people who watch broadcast tennis, support the game by attending in person and their level of enjoyment whilst doing so.
Many sponsorship dollars are going begging as so many people find the grunting too irritating, so cannot bear to watch when it occurs so much. See part 1 of this series in the Hard Hitting category here at OnCourt Advantage by clicking this link-> Sign the GRUNTING in Tennis Petition #1.
Once noise hindrance by grunting is added to the code, players who grunt would be subject to the usual code of conduct process. For grunting it would be ideal to add a new third offence condition so that being defaulted becomes the penalty for a fourth offence i.e. that a warning is issued for a 1st offence, one point penalty for a second offence, losing a game for a third offence and being defaulted from the match for a fourth offence.
The grunting has gotten so out of hand that people post tennis players grunting on You Tube because they think the grunting is so ridiculous and extreme that it is funny. Surely, this does not add to the integrity of the game.
The rules of tennis give the umpire the power to award a point against a player if the umpire believes that player has hindered his or her opponent. This power is supplied via the hindrance rule.
When a grunt lasts into their opponents’ preparation of their stroke then the receiving player’s shot is certainly being hindered. Grunting loudly enough through the collision of the ball and racquet to disguise the telltale sound of the ball coming off the racquet gives the grunter an unfair advantage.
Not being able to hear the ball off the racquet throws off your timing and makes it harder to judge the ball for your own stroke. Try playing with headphones on so you cannot hear. For those tennis coaches who are teaching their players to grunt in order to intimidate their opponent, we challenge you to use your coaching skill to get results for your players rather than reinforcing this unsportsmanlike conduct.
Coaching players to deliberately grunt is stupid and if you are being taught to grunt then you should look for a new coach, as your current coach is most likely all talk and no substance.
There is a physiological advantage to exhaling rather than choosing to grunt. Exhaling during the exertion phase of any exercise means you will preserve energy, reduce anxiety and tension and be able to perform the movement more effectively. The longer, slower and closer to full exhalation you achieve the better off you will be because your movements are more likely to be long and smooth, just like Roger Federer at his peak. Federer served 50 aces in the 2009 Wimbledon final and he does NOT grunt.
Tennis officials are considering classifying grunting as a noise hindrance and adding this to the ITF Code of Conduct. This petition will be forwarded to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), once there are 100 signatories and every 100 thereafter, so please add your comment below OR on part 1 of “Sign the GRUNTING in Tennis Petition”, to reinforce that grunting is hurting the game and MANY people feel that way.
To read about further details and reasons in support of making grunting a noise hindrance see part 1 by clicking this link-> Sign the GRUNTING in Tennis Petition #1. Pictured above is MARIA SHARAPOVA!!!
Photo credit: alphababy