Is Grunting Necessary?

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.

Watch this clip to see the controversy over grunting at Wimbledon.

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5 thoughts on “Is Grunting Necessary?

  1. Haha, I have totally thought this before! I played tennis in high school, and I remember some girls would grunt after hitting the ball every single time. I feel like grunting would partially waste some of your energy because you are putting some of your energy into grunting. I could be wrong about that, but it’s just a thought. I do agree though. I think it’s unnecessary, but I could see how people could get in the habit without really realizing it.

  2. It is not necessary, but it is not a reason to ban it! From your tennis opinion, is it necessary?

    • meganadams12 says:

      Definitely not necessary but worthy of being banned? That might be a bit of a stretch. I think that if it started to get out of hand and was affecting the opponent’s play the grunter should receive a warning of some sort, but otherwise I think players should be allowed to. If bans are put on grunting, players could eventually be banned from showing excitement after hit a great shot so I think it is best to not start with grunting.

  3. I hardly play tennis, so I’d be interested to know what legitimate tennis players’ perspectives are on the grunting. Obviously, there will be differing ones, but what’s the general consensus? I’m a runner, and some people grunt every breath or every couple strides. For me, that’s just incentive to pass them faster, because it’s really annoying. I don’t understand how that could be necessary, but I can understand it as a habit–a bad one.

    • meganadams12 says:

      I completely agree that it is a bad habit. I would definitely say its unnecessary. I have jokingly tried to grunt like Sharapova while I practiced and it just felt so forced and unnatural. I didn’t feel like I was able to hit the ball harder or hit an amazing shot that was out of my reach. If anything, I distracted myself thinking how I was to grunt rather than concentrating on the shot.

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