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Victoria Azarenka's Wail
June 22, 2011 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Belarusian tennis player, Victoria Azarenka ‘wail’ registers at 95 dB, but that's not the loudest
posted by nam3d (56 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The comparison to aircraft suggests a shaky understanding of the metric - producing a loud transient requires a lot less power and is arguably perceptually less impressive than a sustained roar.
posted by elektrotechnicus at 12:56 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


the record holder is Portuguese player, Michelle Larcher de Brito who tops it off at 109 dB (one decibel shy of a Lions roar).
Surely it can't be that ba - OMG.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:57 PM on June 22, 2011


What am I doing listening to the third loudest wail in the world? I wanna hear the loudest!
posted by mateja at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Duet
posted by Namlit at 1:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is what Michelle Larcher de Brito sounds like
posted by nam3d at 1:03 PM on June 22, 2011


Grunts and shouts almost seem explicable, but the length of the "wail," the "wooooooooo," it's just eerie.
posted by explosion at 1:04 PM on June 22, 2011


This is why I only watch Roger Federer play. He's almost completely silent.
posted by metl_lord at 1:05 PM on June 22, 2011


They sound like they're making little laser sound effects. PEW PEW
posted by echo target at 1:06 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find women's tennis very sexy. That is all.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:07 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Some people have said that the point is to obliterate any information that's in the sound of the ball being struck. Maybe the length of these wails is to cover the bounce as well.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:10 PM on June 22, 2011


Metafilter: the point is to obliterate any information.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:13 PM on June 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


> This is why I only watch Roger Federer play. He's almost completely silent.

Does he only compete against mimes?
posted by ardgedee at 1:14 PM on June 22, 2011


Are there no men who play tennis loudly? This is (only one of many reasons) why Brian Blessed should play tennis.
posted by MrFTBN at 1:14 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Larcher de Brito reminds me of when I was in fourth grade, and I would artificially lengthen the sound of my sneezes. It sounds like the tennis equivalent of the "achooeee" noises I made.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:14 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Brian Blessed should play tennis

That's a great image, thanks.

"Excellent shot!"
posted by ODiV at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2011


MrFTBN: You are aware of the fact that there are no lowercase letters in his name?
posted by zombieflanders at 1:18 PM on June 22, 2011


How is this not gamesmanship? If someone like Larcher de Brito can prolong her shrieking long enough for it still to be going on when her opponent is returning the ball, why can't I just randomly shout something when my opponent is about to strike a serve? What's the difference?
posted by afx237vi at 1:30 PM on June 22, 2011


why can't I just randomly shout something when my opponent is about to strike a serve? What's the difference?

Yeah what would happen if, when they hit the ball, they just screamed: "PSYCH!"
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:37 PM on June 22, 2011


Vocalizations like tennis grunting and the martial arts kiai uttered with a strike or power move are used in many sports. I'm pretty sure that on some level this is hard-wired behavior akin to the roar of a charging predator.

It mainly serves to help regulate breathing (an exhale on the power stroke is desirable for many reasons) and focus the mind by drowning out distractions. But intimidating and freezing your opponent is also a desired effect and I'm pretty sure gamesmanship is part of this decibel arms race.
posted by Manjusri at 1:41 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


My son totally does this to me on Wii Sports.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:47 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sharapova is notorious for this as well. Like fingernails on a hard court.
posted by basicchannel at 1:54 PM on June 22, 2011


I was totally going to become a female tennis pro, but now, forget it!!
posted by facetious at 1:59 PM on June 22, 2011


Oh my word!
posted by basicchannel at 1:59 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


cf. Wimbledon 2011: grunting tennis players are spoiling the game by Andrew Hough at The Daily Telegraph.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:10 PM on June 22, 2011


This shouldn't be turning me on.....THIS SHOULDN'T BE TURNING ME ON!
posted by Fizz at 2:11 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


cf. "Wimbledon 2011: grunting tennis players are spoiling the game"

I can certainly understand that. I get that grunting happens when you're doing such things (as Manjusri pointed out above), but... some (most) of those grunts are just stupidly loud / long. I'm not into tennis, but if I were, that would really turn me off from watching it. Uhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! to you too, ladies.
posted by menschlich at 2:13 PM on June 22, 2011


Relevant Sinfest strip, of course.
posted by Iosephus at 2:14 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why must all these female tennis players be constantly reminding me of all the sex I'm not having!?
posted by smithsmith at 2:41 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why are these weird banshee-like ululations typically referred to as "grunts"?
posted by steambadger at 2:42 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


You will sometimes see the chair umpire issue a warning to a player who gets too obnoxious. It usually has to do with the duration of the grunt rather than the volume. For example, if a player hits the ball and they continue their scream until their opponent hits the ball on the return, then they are effectively interfering with the concentration of the other player.

Like most professional sports, what separates the players is a pretty thin margin. So you'll see people engage in all kinds of shenanigans to get the "edge". It wouldn't surprise me if some coaches actively encourage this type of vocalization in order to mess with an opponent. On the men's side you can find similar examples, Djokovic's gratuitous pre-serve ball bouncing being the most obvious (though he has toned it down).

I've played recreationally for years and I've never run across a player on the mens or womens side that grunts like the ladies in this thread. If someone behaved like that, no one would hit with them. In the pros, you don't have a choice. It's whoever you've been assigned to in the draw.
posted by quadog at 2:48 PM on June 22, 2011


It used to bug me a lot, but now I hardly even notice. Wasn't Monica Seles the one who really kicked things up a notch?

Are there no men who play tennis loudly?

It probably happens more in juniors. I had some opponents who literally screamed when hitting the ball. It's probably considered "less manly" or something to do it when you are a grown-up.

Even amongst the women, it seems like a younger player's thing. Larcher de Brito is ~18 now, but those links above she is 15.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:48 PM on June 22, 2011


If someone behaved like that, no one would hit with them. In the pros, you don't have a choice.

You don't have a choice in junior tournaments either. Players who were extremely loud were certainly cautioned. I believe it was up to the tournament officials to decide whether the noise was interfering with the opponent's play (or intended to do so), and issue warnings, but that was incredibly rare, i.e. the cases where everyone within 5 blocks was complaining.

It wouldn't surprise me if some coaches actively encourage this type of vocalization in order to mess with an opponent.

Oh hell yes. That's almost the primary purpose. My high-school coach encouraged us to make every "out" call as loud as possible, even when a ball missed by several feet, and all sorts of other behaviors designed to piss off our opponents as much as possible.

Tennis is a brutal sport, psychologically. It's just you and your racket in the hot sun getting waxed.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:53 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ken Park flashbacks. That's what I needed today!
posted by delfin at 2:56 PM on June 22, 2011


She sounds like a fuckin' pterodactyl.

That ain't grunting, that's the human equivalent of the screaming bombs the Germans used on England in WWII.
posted by notsnot at 3:30 PM on June 22, 2011


The sport of fencing has a copious amount of screaming, but always at the end of a point. And men do it, too.
posted by grounded at 3:35 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like to think of tennis as dogs barking at each other through a fence.

Get the ball! Get the ball!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:38 PM on June 22, 2011


KAREN: Unngghh!!!

PETE: Karen... What are you doing?

KAREN: Well, when the professional tennis women play tennis, every time they hit the ball, they go, 'Unngghh!!!' And then they sit down and eat a banana.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:56 PM on June 22, 2011


This sounds painful to do. Don't these matches go on for hours? Doesn't this kill your throat?
I often wonder about those dogs that seem to bark for hours without stopping.
'Oh, I can't play today. I've got a sore throat.'
posted by MtDewd at 3:58 PM on June 22, 2011


Yeah what would happen if, when they hit the ball, they just screamed: "PSYCH!"

Or yelled "Duck!" or "Fire!"

But really, I have wondered about what kind of psychological advantage the grunt could give. Does it distract an opponent? Keep them off their game and thinking "I sure wish they would shut up." I also wonder how it compares to the cold stare + slow fist pump following a winner which is so prevalent these days.
posted by Metro Gnome at 4:22 PM on June 22, 2011


All this ridiculous shrieking and grunting is blatant gamesmanship and should be banned as unsportsmanlike.
posted by joannemullen at 5:23 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


This should be cross-posted in the AskMe: what makes a woman good in bed?
posted by supercres at 5:41 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The sport of fencing has a copious amount of screaming"

Indeed, that's where I developed the habit on the advice of my coach as I recall. In both of your videos the yelling is over the top and clear gamesmanship (esp. removing the mask which is a cardable offense). But it isn't always so.

One of my favorite moments of sportsmanship was during a particularly spirited elimination bout at Nationals. We were both yelling our heads off and my opponent accidentally bumped me in between touches. He reached out and touched my shoulder with a gentle "Pardon". I replied with an equally cordial "No problem", and we went back to trying to skewer each other with ferocious intensity. Our director found this entertaining.
posted by Manjusri at 6:04 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't watch tennis, but if I did I wouldn't enjoy it for all that grunting and screaming.

Olympic weightlifters do it when trying to hoist huge heavy loads over their heads, but that's part of the sport considering the effort involved.

I'm not saying it's easy to hit a tennis ball hard, I'm just saying the vocalisations appear to be deliberately over the top, and it annoys the Hell out of me. And then they demand that the audience keep quiet.

Next thing you know golfers will start screaming at every drive.
posted by bwg at 6:40 PM on June 22, 2011


I used to play without any grunting, but then I figured I'd give it a try. It actually improved my game significantly. Tons more winners, better spin, more control, and a lot more power. I agree with Manjusri that it probably has more to do with effectively breathing while executing, but I was amazed at how much it improved every part of my stroke.

If I played professionally, I would try to get every advantage I could, so I don't blame any player for doing this. The prolonged wails seem like bullshit, though. I'm playing again tomorrow, so I'll give it a try.
posted by effwerd at 6:48 PM on June 22, 2011


MetaFilter: It's just you and your racket in the hot sun getting waxed.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:14 PM on June 22, 2011


All of these decibel comparisons with things like jet engines are forgetting something crucial for comparison: the distance from the measuring device. (soundwaves are bound by the inverse-square law, which in a nutshell means that doubling the distance reduces the energy to 1/4th)

A jet engine produces about 130dB at 100 meters. This is comparable to a small calibre firearm or a trumpet from 1 meter away. Tennis players might be as loud as a trumpet, but there's no way in hell they're in the same league as a jet engine.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:32 PM on June 22, 2011


In fencing, I didn't partake but I also didn't object to the shouts of "Elan!" that some did as part of a finishing action, but if I was directing, there's no way I would put up with the showboating and bad sportsmanship in those videos. Especially the premature yanking off the mask. Coach Okawa would definitely been angry, too, if I had behaved like that. Fencers should show exemplary manners and honesty.
posted by planetkyoto at 8:32 PM on June 22, 2011


Needs more vuvuzela.
posted by dibblda at 8:36 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Leyton Hewet's C'MON has to be one of the loudest - if not most unendearing noises in sport
posted by the noob at 11:20 PM on June 22, 2011


All the screaming does seem blatant, but if it helps to focus punching power in various martials, why not in tennis swings?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:55 AM on June 23, 2011


Why must all these female tennis players be constantly reminding me of all the sex I'm not having!?

This should be cross-posted in the AskMe: what makes a woman good in bed?

I find women's tennis very sexy. That is all.

Oh, for fuck's sake.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:15 AM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


You know, I like sexy noises, and the first time I saw Sharapova play, I got distracted for 15 minutes and was almost late heading out. But now...gotta say I sorta quit watching women's tennis because of the continual annoying, distracting shrieking. Don't like watching with the sound off, so I don't watch. Shallow of me? I guess. It seems self-centered and annoying, whatever the scientific breathing rhythm reasons for it. I'm sure others might find this an overreaction, but for me, it has already ruined women's tennis. Too many things to watch to sit there and grimace through yet another dueling orgasm contest. And there is not a small part of my brain that thinks about 80% of this act is not about controlling your breathing, it's about the fact that everyone else does it so....look at me look at me! My orgasm is louder! I will win!

If you pound your chest and roar, that's supposed to activate some aggressive response, too. So I guess we can expect that in the near future players will rush the net screeching and beating on their torsos violently preparatory to hitting their shot.

It's just like letting any moron who can afford a beer screech "IN THE HOLE!" at golf matches. If I ran a golf match, you wouldn't even get a warning, you'd just be tossed out with no refund. Sometimes noise is to encourage, or cheer on, or invigorate yourself. But, sadly, more often it's about drawing attention to yourself that is probably unwarranted and that you wouldn't get if you weren't acting like a drunken banshee.
posted by umberto at 9:32 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The corpse in the library: Yeah, pretty much. I guess because it's women grunting and screaming we're supposed to talk about how sexy or not it is? Like that somehow connects it to orgasms?

Sigh.

(that wasn't a sexy sigh by the way because I'm a dude)
posted by ODiV at 10:44 AM on June 23, 2011


I stopped watching women's tennis just for this reason a few years ago or so. I am surprised that it is just become a news item. What I want to know is how they train themselves to make such weird noises when they are having to concentrate to hard on making the shot. It just seems like an extra effort. People have played for years without this, and been great players, but now everyone has to.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 4:55 PM on June 23, 2011


planetkyoto: Heizaburo Okawa? Very good coach. I used to just sit and watch his lessons sometimes. I believe the call is "est la!" (french for "and there").
posted by Manjusri at 11:33 PM on June 23, 2011


People have played for years without this, and been great players, but now everyone has to.

WTF?!

Julia Goerges (WTA #16) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (WTA #1)

Kim Clijsters (WTA #2) v. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (WTA #31)

Vera Zvonareva (WTA #3) vs. Jelena Jankovic (WTA #15)

You may have stopped watching women's tennis because of "grunting," but you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2011


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