Tennis: Grunting


What’s with all the tennis grunting? I simply cannot stand those awful screams that are literally ruining good tennis matches.

If I wanted to listen to that sort of screeching I’d watch my kids playing or switch on that Pay TV channel that broadcasts Question Time in Federal Parliament.

Watching Maria Sharapova’s first round whitewash of Olga Puchkova the other day was like an hour-long session of fingernails scraping ever so slowly down a blackboard. It was simply excruciating and completely distracted from Sharapova’s devastatingly brilliant ground strokes.

I can’t remember any of those great shots but the screeching is still ringing in my ears days later, a bit like a Tony Abbott speech on feminism.

So why do players grunt? Bjorn Borg never needed it and neither did Margaret Court.

Yet some players can’t get through a game without sounding like a scratched record on steroids.

They seem to think it helps them psychologically or puts off their opponents. But many champions have won without screaming the house down and the tactic is now so passe that surely other players have got used to it.

The likes of Sharapova, whose grunts have been measured at 101 decibels, would win regardless.

Full-throttle grunting makes tennis almost impossible to watch without wanting to smash the TV. It’s almost as infuriating as those “woman of now” Kia ads; please don’t get me started on her.

Why hasn’t anyone done anything about it? (The grunting that is, although I’d also love to throttle that Kia woman).

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think anyone needs to make noises on a tennis court that wouldn’t be out of place in a Freddie Kreuger movie.

Their tennis should speak for itself.

For that reason, I probably won’t bother to switch on when Sharapova plays Ekaterina Makarova in today’s quarter final.

I’ll probably take the kids to Chadstone for some relative peace and quiet.


Cheryl Critchley is on twitter: @CherylCritchley





















  1. I haven’t watched a game of women’s tennis for years unless the William’s sisters or Sam Stosur are playing.

    Happily at least one of them gets through the the last weekend.

  2. Cheryl Critchley says

    I don’t mind watching women play, The Wrap, it’s just the grunting I can’t stand. Maybe I should just turn the sound down :-)

  3. This has ruined (mainly women’s) tennis since Monica Seles arrived on the scene about 25 years ago. It is being incorporated by some players as a deliberate ploy to put opponents off.

    There are many viewers who complain about it each year but nothing gets done. Just wait until Azarenka plays Sharapova.

    There just need to be rules introduced to place a penalty on that activity. You get a warning and if it continues the game is defaulted. It will soon disappear if it were enforced.

    Unfortunately the tennis authorities are not brave enough implement such changes. Tennis is a sexy sport in exactly the same way that Greco-Roman wrestling isn’t. If you take out the flair, fashion and personalities you basically just have two people hitting a ball back and forward at each other. The same thing happens in table tennis but nobody cares about that – it’s just not sexy. It appears that those in command see the screaming as part of the attraction and charisma of of the game.

    Advantage Screech

  4. Cheryl Critchley says

    Agree aussie80s but as you say it seems no-one has the guts to do anything about it. I simply cannot watch a game with all that grunting.

  5. I find a lot of the stuff Margaret Court says these days a lot more irritating than any Sharapova grunt.

    Francesca Schiavone has an interesting two-note grunt – kind of high-low. However I noticed at the Hopman Cup that the noise she made on her serve sounded a lot like F#CK! Luckily she was knocked out in the first round of the Open saving us all from offence..

  6. Cheryl Critchley says

    Hi Les. I agree re the religious extremism but at least Margaret Court doesn’t scream with a high-pitched should when she talks :-)

  7. Roger doesn’t grunt, Nadal however… lol

  8. The ones that grunt make me wonder when else they’ll grunt and how their poor neighbours handle it when they do

  9. I have boycotted Sharapova’s and Azarenka’s matches for ages now due to the continuous grunting and shreiking. It is appalling, and I reckon would be extremely off-putting for an opponent. Which, I guess, is the whole idea.
    Interestingly, I did read that Sharapova does not shreik when practising?
    As for the authorities…it seems a lot like the ICC’s approach to “chucking”….close your eyes and hope it goes away.

  10. Cheryl Critchley says

    Don’t get me started on the Chuckers Smokie! That’s another elephant in the room. I reckon half the 20/20 bowlers chuck.

  11. Warne makes me chuck.

  12. I watched Sharapova for 5 minutes a couple of days ago and found myself rooting for her opponent very strongly. Could not stand it!!

    As an aside, I wonder what the authorities would do if a tennis player started yelling out an actual word every time they hit the ball. Same volume, same length but a word rather than a grunt. Would they view it differently? Would it depend on the word?

    On a slight tangent, I wonder how a tennis player with tourettes would go.

  13. Andrew Weiss says

    Whilst out walking the other night i walked passed a house and thought there was some interesting love making going. Realised that this was not the case when I got home put on the TV and saw that there was a Womens singles match on.

  14. Andrew Starkie says

    Ban it. take points off and it will stop in a heartbeat.

  15. There is no grunting in Women’s tennis. There never has been, it’s just a media beat-up. If I hear you make such accusations again my team of lawyers will act on my instructions.

    Yours sincerely, Lance.

  16. It’s interesting to see aussie80’s point re Monica Seles and grunting. I can’t recall the ‘olden days’ players like Rosie Casal, Evonne Goolagong, Betty Stove, Renata Tomanova, Dianne Fromholtz, etc, being grunters. It really has only come on in the last 20, or so, years. Thus if we aren’t happy with this trait, simply do the following if you’re watching TV. Use the mute button. That way there’s not just no grunting, you can also bypass the inane commentary .


  17. Peter Schumacher says

    I reckon that Hewitt is OK as a commentator though although I realise that this “thread” is about the women grunting and wailing and as one observer pointed out saying”fxck”. Does nothing for me, well actually it does, like every one else I wonder with increasing irritation how they get away with it. I just wish the crowd would take them off, every one would die laughing I reckon and better yet it might put a stop to this nonsense. As for adds, the “he’s a Steggler” is the one that gives me the irrits most.

  18. Maria Sharapova monsters the minnows and then capitulates as soon as she has some serious competition. She’s just a flat chest bully.

  19. Cheryl Critchley says

    I’m just glad we don’t have to listen to that grunting any more. It’s more infuriating every time I watch it. They really need to do something about it or women’s tennis, which already has a credibility crisis, will be seen by many as even more of a joke.

  20. Li Na did us a favour on one side of the draw.

    After the 9th game of the second set in the other semi (which was riveting and brilliant), I thought Sloane Stephens was a chance to do us another.

    Then Azarenka pulled that injury stunt! As if her grunting was not enough. What a joke!

  21. Pamela Sherpa says

    I stopped watching women’s tennis years ago because of the grunting and shrieking. It’s a complete turn off. A few years ago I wrote a song parody- ‘HOW DO YOU STOP THE GRUNTING OF MARIA’ . It went something like …..
    How do you stop the grunting of Maria
    How do say please turn the volume down
    How do you stop the grunting of Maria
    It shatters the night , gives kiddies a fright, it’s LOUD!
    How do you stop the grunting of Maria
    How do you say ‘”Quiet please” in Russian?….

    I wonder if a noise pollution meter could be installed and a penalty applied(perhaps loss of a point) when the grunt reaches a certain decibel. I’m sure someone could install and monitor a gadget for that . It would also give the commentators something else to become experts on. But then, the network might have to pay them overtime for a Sharapova match.

  22. Cheryl Critchley says

    Great song Pamela and great idea. It beats me why they don’t do something about it as it’s clearly putting people off. It’s a good case of not having the guts to tackle an issue, which then just gets worse.

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