Sisterhood Blog

In Defense of Grunters

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

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Victoria Azarenka

The head of Wimbledon, which began this week, is asking for less grunting from female tennis players during their matches. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, conveyed that tennis umpires were becoming more uncomfortable with the increasing length and volume of the sounds accompanying tennis serves, called grunts. He believes greener players have an “education problem” about the issue.

There are many international tennis tournaments each year, and a number of these are high profile, but it seems that women tennis players are publicly scolded for grunting only when Wimbledon rolls around; the Sisterhood first wrote about this phenomenon nearly two years ago. Then, it was Russia’s Maria Sharapova who was being criticized for the decibels her grunts reached (yes, officials measure). Now, it’s Victoria Azarenka of Belarus who is being reprimanded.

Azarenka says the grunts improve her game. Perhaps it is emblematic of the power of her serve; perhaps it works against her competitor’s concentration.

Whatever the reason, it seems that there is more heat focused on female players when it comes to these noises than their male counterparts. After all, there are men who grunt, too.


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