Monday, January 30, 2012

Grunting in Women's Tennis

Grunting in Women's has become a serious issue for the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).  This past week at the Australian Open, the reaction of the fans were felt as they mocked players who were grunting loudly.  In fact the issue of grunting became fodder for pre-final interviews this past weekend.

The women's final between Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova showcased two of the loudest grunters in the WTA.  Fans at the open were annoyed and angry at grunting in the Women's game.  Sportmentary's first reaction was for fans to get over it.  It's part of the game and if that's what they do, so be it.

Then decided to watch the Women's final.  After a few games and continuous grunting that sounded more like another past time that adults enjoy, the TV was turned off.  Sportmentary couldn't watch another second.  The grunting had become so distracting that watching the match was not enjoyable.

The issue facing the WTA is a controversial but serious one.  On the one hand you don't want to dictate how athletes sound on the court but on the other hand, you need to be aware that grunting may be turning away your most loyal fans.

When you have a stadium full of fans watching matches and mocking the players or booing the palyers when they grunt too loudly, you need to be aware of it and have a game plan.  The WTA did issue a statement that they will try and educate younger players in tennis and let them know that grunting loudly isn't good for the game.  They will also reach out to existing players. The WTA surely reserves the right to prohibit grunting from he game but that may be a little too drastic.

Sportmentary took in the historic Men's Australian final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.  It was an awesome match but we did notice that the men groan during their plays.  Nadal has done it for years.  Moaning isn't as distracting as grunting and that's the issue.

It's not fair but it is reality.  When women grunt loudly on the court, some fans find it annoying and distracting.  When men groan on the court, they hardly even notice it.  So what can be done to make grunting less annoying to fans?  Sportmentary isn't sure.  Maybe the answer lies in tolerance and getting used to it.  Sportmentary believes that maybe fans need to chill a little bit and as they get used to it, they won't be be reminded of an adult act when they watch the game of women's tennis.

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