‘Excessive Grunting’ to Be Removed From Tennis Through New Rules, Handheld Devices

by NESN Staff

June 26, 2012

'Excessive Grunting' to Be Removed From Tennis Through New Rules, Handheld DevicesThe grunting noises that have long made tennis annoying for some may soon be illegal.

A plan being put together by the WTA, the International Tennis Federation and the WTA players' council is looking to winnow out grunting in the game through handheld devices that measure noise levels, rules detailing "acceptable and non-acceptable noise levels" and "education" throughout the lower levels of the game, USA Today reports.

"It's time for us to drive excessive grunting out of the game for future generations," WTA chairman and chief executive Stacey Allaster told USA Today.

The rules, however, won't be unleashed on current professionals — meaning Maria Sharapova and company can keep shrieking away.

Rather, the WTA and other tennis groups are trying to work at the ground level to help young players develop without the trademark grunts and groans.

No timeline was given for the changes, but Allaster talked of hiring an acoustic consultant that would help umpires make calls related to grunting on the court. Allaster pointed out that the changes would likely take some time, as all levels of the sport need to work together to make sure new standards are upheld.

Fans and many players have long protested the grunts and shrieks that fill the game, and the WTA said last year it would start looking into ridding the sport of the trademark noises. But some are skeptical that the trait — which happens because of the unique breathing patterns and physical demands of the sport — can be eradicated.

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