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Is grunting ruining Wimbledon?
A top Wimbledon official insists that clamorous female players are turning off tennis fans
Maria Sharapova, a notorious noisemaker, still holds the record with a 105-decibel grunt.
Maria Sharapova, a notorious noisemaker, still holds the record with a 105-decibel grunt.
Michel Birot/Corbis
T

he video: Quiet down! That's the message from a top Wimbledon official to female players who've been coached to grunt loudly as they hit their shots. "We have made our views clear and we would like to see less of it," says Ian Ritchie, the head of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club, as quoted by The Telegraph. The loud cries are annoying both fans and opponents, says Ritchie, and younger players in particular suffer from an "education problem" about the issue. Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, 21, produced grunts measuring 95 decibels in her first-round match this year, a level approaching that of the "loudest known" tennis grunt, 105 decibels, by Maria Sharapova in 2009. (See video of the two noisemakers in action below.)

The reaction: "Can Victoria Azarenka's ghost-wails even be called grunts?" asks Edith Zimmerman at The Hairpin. The problem with Azarenka's shrieks is not just their volume, but their "prolonged nature," says Martyn Herman at Reuters. She is "still in full cry by the time the ball has reached her opponent's strings ." But "about 70 percent of the whole tour" grunts, says Azarenka, as quoted by The Telegraph, and "I cannot change it, that's what helps me to play. I have to keep going with the thing that helps me play." Watch a video of Azarenka and Sharapova grunting during a match last year:

 

 

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