The grunt stops here: Tennis officials plan crackdown on noisy players
A loud grunt as a ball is served down the court has almost become as part of the Wimbledon fabric as strawberries and cream.
But that could all be about to change as tennis officials are considering a ban emitting too much noise.
As it stands players can have a point awarded against them if the umpire feels they have hindered an opponent.
Too noisy: Tennis authorities are planning a crackdown on players who grunt on court such as Maria Sharapova
However new proposals to make noise hindrance part of the International Tennis Federation’s code of conduct, could mean grunters could potentially forfeit a whole game or match.
One of the loudest offenders is Maria Sharapova, who at 101 decibels is almost as loud as a lion’s 110 decibel roar.
Monica Seles is not far behind with her groans reaching 93.2 decibels.
In last month’s French open, Aravane Rezai complained to the umpire about the noise emitting from 16-year-old player Michelle Larcher de Brito.
Complaints: An opponent said Michelle Larcher de Brito’s loud grunts at the French Tennis Open were distracting
THE GRUNTERS, IN DECIBELS
- Lion’s roar – 110
- Maria Sharapova – 101
- Monica Seles – 93.2
- Serena Williams – 88.9
- Lindsay Davenport – 88
- Venus Williams – 85
- Victoria Azarenka – 83.5
- Elena Bovina – 81
- Anna Kournikova – 78.5
- Kim Clijsters – 75
- Elena Dementieva – 73
Nick Bollettieri of the academy in Florida which schooled Larcher de Brito as well as Seles, Sharapova and Agassi insists he does not train his players to make noise.
The 77-year-old told The Sunday Times: ‘My staff and I have never taught grunting.
‘We have always taught the proper way to breathe in and out. Players grunt because it helps them release energy and keep focused.
‘It is something that they do naturally. It isn’t something that is done deliberately to hurt their opponents.’
He agreed that something needs to be done to govern the level of noise on the courts: ‘There is a need for some sort of regulation. Players on both the men’s and women’s tours grunt. Something eventually needs to be done.’