Have you ever watched a tennis match and thought to yourself “is the grunting really necessary?” Well if you have, you are not alone.
While some men do grunt, women are known as the primary grunters. Some pros have said that they do it without even noticing or that it is the way they exhale. They also say that it helps them to stay in rhythm in points.
Here’s a look at the history of grunting in tennis:
1974: Grunting pioneer Jimmy Connors wins first Wimbledon title
1988: Ivan Lendl complains about Andre Agassi’s grunting at US Open
1992: Monica Seles spoken to by officials at Wimbledon for grunting
2005: Maria Sharapova’s grunt reaches 101 decibels
2009: Michelle Larcher de Brito receives unofficial warning for grunting at Roland Garros
At Wimbledon this year, many people thought the grunting was really getting out of hand, but clearly this is not the first time it has caused controversy in the game. In the late 1980s, some asked that grunting be banned from tennis or at least punished while others thought that it was cheating.
I can’t say that I think it is cheating, but it is a bit annoying. Especially when the grunt turns into more than a subtle sound and becomes a shriek.
So is grunting really necessary? I don’t think so, BUT for those who grew up watching the pros on TV grunt and can’t remember playing tennis without grunting, I can see how it would become natural to do while playing and difficult to stop.