I don’t know where or when it started from but I certainly don’t remember tennis players of old making as much noise as today’s younger players. It seems that a loud grunt has to accompany every serve and every shot they make during a rally. It is almost like listening to a seedy porn film.
As the Wimbledon Championships celebrates its 125th anniversary this year Mr Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club (AELTC), said that not only officials but also fans are becoming frustrated with loud players who they believe are spoiling the game. He blamed younger players, whom he said suffered from an “education problem” about the issue.
On the first day of the championships, Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, a player often criticised for her wails, edged towards record noise levels as she made her debut on Court No 2. Noise machines recorded her reach a level of 95 decibels as she shrieked her way through the first round match against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova.It was not not only at the volume but also the length of her roars, which exceeded 1.5 seconds almost every time she hit the ball before play was suspended due to rain.
This is not the first time that the fourth seed Azarenka, 21, has been forced to defend her noisy play - spectators began to mimic the din she made two years ago.
“People can do whatever they want but I hope they can respect all the players who grunt, which are about 70 per cent of the whole tour,” she said.
“I have been doing it since I was 10 years old. I wasn’t really strong and that was what helped me to accelerate more, to put more power to the ball.
“I cannot change it, that’s what helps me to play. I have to keep going with the thing that helps me play.”
The loudest known grunter on court was Maria Sharapova, who sent the sound monitor into new realms with a recording of 105 decibels in 2009.
If this racket (pun intended) continues, we may have to watch the games with the sound turned off!