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There won't be a "next Monica Seles"
June 28, 2012 9:10 PM   Subscribe

"It's time for us to drive excessive grunting out of the game [of Tennis] for future generations," WTA chairman and chief executive Stacey Allaster said. Sexist? Or not?
posted by vidur (157 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The WTA, which likens its approach to that of the Major League Baseball's gradual phase-out of chewing tobacco...

Will they also be retiring Grunty Llama? I mean, talk about your transparent attempts to market grunting to kids.
posted by griphus at 9:16 PM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


holy shit I just read an entire article about grunting.
posted by pwally at 9:19 PM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


absolutely sexist. there are prominent male grunters that never seem to make this conversation.
posted by nadawi at 9:19 PM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why is it even a problem? Who cares if they grunt?
posted by unSane at 9:22 PM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why is it even a problem? Who cares if they grunt?

I think some players have admitted using grunts to throw off their opponents.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:27 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is it even a problem? Who cares if they grunt?

Same reason anything is a problem to a professional sports league -- they're afraid it's turning off the money tap. If people feel that female tennis players ought not grunt, and stop watching/buying tickets/patronizing sponsors, then clearly (in the minds of the people who run the tour), grunting is a problem.

There's also some nod to it being contrary to the genteel history of the game, but really, it's the money.
posted by Etrigan at 9:27 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


This video shows Stacey Allaster in a better light.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:29 PM on June 28, 2012


Ugh!
posted by Wataki at 9:29 PM on June 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


But if they ban the grunting, then there's no reason to watch.
posted by CarlRossi at 9:29 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"grunt" is one of the few words in the english language that gives me a visceral squick reaction. *shudder*
posted by facetious at 9:32 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I do find it loud and irritating, like a vuvuzela, I don't care if it offends you but I can't listen to this. Adjust the mics or something though if it is an actual performance boost, I want to watch the best play possible. I don't know enough about the sport but it seems like many top women do grunt so maybe there is something to it. OTOH...we do live in a world of Major League pitchers swearing by +5 Amulets of Baseball Enhancement.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:32 PM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I guess all that... shouting is making people nervous.
posted by Pyry at 9:34 PM on June 28, 2012


I'm sure we can all agree that the grunting is not very ladylike.
posted by fredludd at 9:38 PM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


This cannot be real.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:42 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"grunt" is one of the few words in the english language that gives me a visceral squick reaction. *shudder*

ointment
posted by kersplunk at 9:42 PM on June 28, 2012 [25 favorites]


Strong words from Navratilova, NYT 2009: The all-time great Martina Navratilova has complained, however. Without mentioning Larcher de Brito, Navratilova used a speech at the I.T.F.’s champions dinner during the French Open to call for a crackdown. “The grunting has reached an unacceptable level,” Navratilova said. “It is cheating, pure and simple. It is time for something to be done.”

posted by Bwithh at 9:44 PM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Many gyms ban grunting dudes, too. I had to stop going to one gym because of all the grunting, hot, muscly dudes that...er...*ahem*...

Okay, that wasn't really the reason I stopped going to the gym, but still.
posted by darkstar at 9:44 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


This move would also disadvantage time-travelling cave-persons. Zog call them out on Sapientonormativity.
posted by No-sword at 9:44 PM on June 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


All of their running around also bothers me. Why can't they sit calmly?
posted by Knigel at 9:47 PM on June 28, 2012 [37 favorites]


Once a local radio stations ran a game for some tennis tickets where they would play a sound clip and the caller had to guess if it was a tennis player grunting or a pornstar. It was all tennis players.
posted by Deflagro at 9:47 PM on June 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


I agree that we should eliminate excessive grunting from the game.

When we reach 'excessive' I'll let you know.

Play on!
posted by mazola at 9:52 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


My friend's mom had this awesome noise she made when she hit the shuttlecock in badminton, she went "tuuushh!" As far as I can tell, making this noise is the main reason to play badminton. This was in like 1982, ahead of her time Ben's mom, a real trailblazer.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:53 PM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


moist ointment?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:57 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Clearly, the WTA ...






is disgruntled.
posted by dhartung at 9:57 PM on June 28, 2012 [41 favorites]


What they're doing isn't grunting, it's some sort of hybrid primal scream and karate power focus. It's really unsettling, but I'm not up for legislating it out of the game.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:58 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


From here on out, they'll only be allowed to yell, "Kiiiiiiiiyaih!"
posted by klangklangston at 9:58 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


A lot of pearl clutching at perceived sexism here. These are not grunts. These are shouts. When it was just grunts it was a little annoying, but they were very brief. Now that they shout for so long it bleeds into their opponent's return. It's ridiculous.

Also, this is not something that should only be applied to women. Any shouting by any gender should be penalized somehow. It just so happens to be most prevalent in women's tennis.
posted by basicchannel at 10:01 PM on June 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


"grunt" is one of the few words in the english language that gives me a visceral squick reaction. *shudder*

Ever since we saw the documentary "Tabloid" and heard Joyce McKinney describe inserting secret messages into her vagina and anus while in police custody and then later "pushing" and "grunting" them out so she could slip them to the press, my friends and I have adopted the word as a helpful body-cavity euphemism.

So, on one side you've got your fronty, and on the other your grunty. You'd best not ever mix them up, hunty.
posted by hermitosis at 10:08 PM on June 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


a superficial, ear-splitting tactic used for a variety or reasons (to focus, control breathing, disguise the sound of the ball)

... besides maybe that last reason, the first two sound like kind of a good idea? And sorry, idgaf about "ear-splitting," that is a dumb woman-specific criticism that I hear about pretty much any scenario where women use their voices. Screechy, ear-splitting women and their harpy screaming, not to mention when they sing. (Also, not a big tennis fan, but I've heard the screaming/grunting and just don't find it that annoying. Is it actually possible to turn down the mics? Seems like that would be a good solution. Though not one that seems to actually be on the table.)

I'm not sure I find this to be cut-and-dried "sexism," because I can vaguely think of scenarios where seemingly deliberately disruptive shit by male athletes has been called out. I am at a loss to recollect specifics, though.

I find the comparisons to pornstars pretty depressing but inevitable in this world. Sometimes I wonder if pornstars do so much vocalization because 1) it's appealing to the audience but also because 2) it helps them focus and tolerate whatever strenuous physical activity they're selling to the camera. It often looks like it could be pretty punishing from a performance standpoint. I doubt doubt from my own athletic/... athletic experiences that vocalization helps focus.

A lot of pearl clutching at perceived sexism here. These are not grunts. These are shouts. When it was just grunts it was a little annoying, but they were very brief. Now that they shout for so long it bleeds into their opponent's return. It's ridiculous.

I think the sexism lies in the fact that this is seemingly a reaction to fan/media criticism (according to the first article), and fans can decide that screaming women are distasteful and therefore change the rules of the sport. Reads as kind of icky to me. There's nothing inherently wrong with grunting/screaming/yelling/roaring/whatever. Value judgements are being made, and not necessarily about how they affect the game itself.

Also, I love that baseball amulet superstition, it is just so hilarious to me.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:09 PM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


*don't doubt
posted by stoneandstar at 10:11 PM on June 28, 2012


See also: Monica Seles - Grunt American Express (2002) commercial
posted by vidur at 10:14 PM on June 28, 2012


That reminds me, my new band "Moist Ointment Grunt Panties" is playing a show this weekend.

Also, I think this is sexist; even if women grunting is louder or more distracting (an argument I'd agree with), applying the rule evenly is just the type of "do it for appearance sake" decision that only an international sporting body can NOT make.

But then, of course, if we start applying things equally, women might start doing crazy things like demanding equal pay or something.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:14 PM on June 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


From here on out, they'll only be allowed to yell, "Kiiiiiiiiyaih!"

Aside: If you're referring to kiai, it's a common misconception that this is onomatopoeia. Whenever students of martial arts do this, it's hard not to giggle.
posted by vaguelyweird at 10:15 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The grunting is natural to some of the players. Is this can create problem and why to ban according to gender?. The rule must be fair to everyone.
posted by makshi99 at 10:15 PM on June 28, 2012


Speaking of "grunt" . . .

Gonna squat down and fondle these moist grunt nuggets while I clean the squamous pus gunk from my chitterlings so they don't irritate my cankers or adenoids.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:16 PM on June 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


oh, yeah, panties.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:17 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"A lot of pearl clutching at perceived sexism here. These are not grunts. These are shouts. When it was just grunts it was a little annoying, but they were very brief. Now that they shout for so long it bleeds into their opponent's return. It's ridiculous."

It's not golf. Nobody gives a fuck if LeBron James grunts or Brett Favre grunts.
posted by klangklangston at 10:17 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah, but I won't watch basketball because I can't stand the way the shoes squeak. (No one is ever willing to mute basketball coverage. I don't know why.) (Okay, I also won't watch basketball because I deeply don't care and there's so much of it.)
posted by gingerest at 10:21 PM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm a NASCAR fan, I'm not very enthusiastic about going to races because motorsports are one of the loudest things on the planet...of course I watch on TV and cheer for Danica Patrick for every Nationwide race. Seriously, I just don't like noise.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:24 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is a ton of screaming and cursing in NBA games. It's really not an even comparison to tennis because 1)there is omnipresent crowd noise rather than expectation of silence, 2) the mics trained on the players are generally much lower in the mix in broadcasts.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's no reason to ban it for women and not men.
posted by Danila at 10:29 PM on June 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


"grunt" is one of the few words in the english language that gives me a visceral squick reaction. *shudder*

Do any of these words embarrass you?posted by The Tensor at 10:32 PM on June 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


There is a ton of screaming and cursing in NBA games.

Yes. There are also a lot of comically failed attempts to drop audio when someone is about to curse.

Witness LeBron James going to the sidelines with cramps in a critical moment of the Finals:

LEBRON: SHIT!!!

ABC: [3 seconds of silence, 3 seconds after the fact]
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:34 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love those awkward silences after a swear gets through! It's like it was meant for the swear to really sink in for the audience.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:36 PM on June 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'll believe this is sexism when someone can point to the male equivalent of this (Williams v Sharapova). Until then, I'll happily accept the "Or not?" article's argument that the separate organisation that runs men's tennis simply has no reason to do anything about grunting.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 10:44 PM on June 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


That's one of those cultural imports from the US I hate the most, the idea that you have to bleep out swearing. So childish.

Banning grunting?

Sexism, of the sort expected from a sport organisation that likes to pretend it's 1912, not 2012 and it's all genteel amateurs doing a spot of lawn tennis, not a multibillion industry where the players, not them are the most important part of the game.

If Rafael Nadal had grunted more, he'd still be at Wimbledon today.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:44 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your opponent is waiting to return your serve. I really believe grunting or making loud noise can throw them off. It isn't like throwing a football halfway down the field or making a basketball shot. They need a split second reaction. You don't see MLB pitchers grunting, it would absolutely throw off the batter.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:57 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seems to me like all that grunting makes it really easy for your opponent to time their actions, since you're essentially screaming, "I AM HITTING THE BALL NOW WITH THIS MUCH FORCE!!!" You're telegraphing every move.

(Needs more fake-out grunting, is what I'm saying.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:57 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do they time it off the grunt? I bet they time it off the sound of the raquet hitting the ball.

By all means. Fake out grunts and racquet twacking.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:01 PM on June 28, 2012


Ventrilogrunting, with puppets on the sidelines.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:02 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fake out serves? Toss the ball up and whiff the serve, catch the ball and yell "Psyche! caught you looking!"
posted by Ad hominem at 11:04 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's two things I'm not getting here: (a) that the sound would be described as a grunt - yell would be more like it and (b) that it could be mistaken for a sex sound: either I hang around really quiet women, or these people are watching really fake porn.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:04 PM on June 28, 2012


You don't see MLB pitchers grunting, it would absolutely throw off the batter.
Pitchers screaming while pitching? I might watch more than a couple postseason games.
posted by EsotericAlgorithm at 11:06 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


You don't see MLB pitchers grunting, it would absolutely throw off the batter.

Yeah, I dunno. I feel like if it worked they would have been doing it for 75 years now and have detailed statistical analysis of the best way to grunt.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:11 PM on June 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was just thinking there is probably a rule against it. You would definitely see the opposing team shouting to startle the batter.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:15 PM on June 28, 2012


As I understand it the grunting (realistically, yelling) is absolutely Kiai, and has a purpose, and sounds like nothing that I've ever heard in a sexual situation, and let the top players play at their top form for godsakes.

Now, Daisy and Peach in Mario Tennis, on the other hand, sound kind of dirty.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:15 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


these people are watching really fake porn

I actually think it might be the opposite, that the kind of deeply guttural sexual noises that they are comparing these tennis players' grunts/yells to are probably the kind in porn involving very aggressive vaginal or anal penetration, which requires considerable fortitude to withstand at the level it's depicted in mainstream pornography. So those (pornstars') sounds probably are a little more athletic/zen than the purely stylistic sounds in a softer scene. (Uhh, I am talking about porn too much, but I do think there's a good point to be made about how porn often erases/fetishizes the physically demanding experiences of women, and it's sad where we allow this (in porn) and where we don't (in athletics). Hopefully it's on topic?)

I'm not sure I can parse the argument that "if it's banned for women it should be for men," because it seems like the amount of grunting(?? yeah maybe not the best word) is different. I am genuinely curious why this is. I still completely agree that it's latently sexist to regulate (as someone else mentioned) a multibillion dollar sport based on fans wetting their underoos about Inappropriate Female Noises.

I mean, what was the deal with anyone anywhere "encouraging" female boxers wear skirts? It's just a basic entitlement to telling women what to do with their bodies when they are using them in unfeminine ways, even when they are performing in a context that is purely about bodily power and control.

I see where furiousxgeorge is coming from, because I don't really like any immoderately long period of loud/sudden noise exposure. But I wouldn't dream of thinking that my dippy feelings have anything to do with how female athletes play their sport. (Because if the argument were that grunting is purely a disruptive tactic, I would understand that better as foul play. This seems to be more about sport as entertainment, and feels disproportionately nannying to me.)
posted by stoneandstar at 11:32 PM on June 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Tennis released a new album recently. It's worth checking out IMO.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:38 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nobody gives a fuck if LeBron James grunts or Brett Favre grunts.

I care, a little. *sniff*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:49 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Who gives a shit if they're "tactical" or whatever? It's a competitive sport. Maybe developing a pretty good imitation of an air-raid siren will increasingly become necessary to compete at the highest levels. So what?

Shaking my fist at the whiners.
posted by kavasa at 11:54 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


gingerest: "Ah, but I won't watch basketball because I can't stand the way the shoes squeak."

I ... I thought I was the only one! *sobs with relief*
posted by barnacles at 12:00 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nobody gives a fuck if LeBron James grunts or Brett Favre grunts.

They do care that McNabb puked though. They care about all kinds of random shit. These are spectator sports, not just competitive sports, if you are only focused on competitiveness that is fine but those compromises very well may mean people don't want to watch.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:00 AM on June 29, 2012


I think I would always trust Navratilova on tennis, and she is definitely against it:
Nine-time Wimbledon singles champion Martina Navratilova, an outspoken critic of high-decibel levels in the sport, applauded the initiative but scoffed at the pace of implementation.

"I think it's a great idea, but speed it up," she said Monday. "You do not need a year to get used to not making a noise when you play tennis." [...]

The criticism leveled at women has caused some to point out that male players also grunt — some quite loudly. The issue is not perceived to be a problem on the ATP World Tour and has not been raised, according to ATP spokeswoman Kate Gordon.

"The women are definitely louder and more abrasive," Navratilova said.
posted by pracowity at 12:12 AM on June 29, 2012


Frankly, even if the guys don't grunt like the women do, fuck it. Women competing at this level should be able to let out a primal scream when they smack that ball. Why do they have to play the way the boys do?
posted by Foam Pants at 12:23 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not grunting, it's shrieking. Its prominence in women's tennis largely coincides with the success of alumni of the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.

Shrieking definitely does have a physiological benefit in terms of exhaling while hitting the ball, but the length of the shriek is about psychological benefits. The shriek is an emotional exhalation - a war cry announcing the power of each shot - but like any war cry it is not just a motivational tool for the person doing it but a valuable tool for unnerving opponents. The longer, the louder, the more emotive the better.

Coaches know this. I'm sure the players that shriek know it too but can dismiss it more easily because it has been coached in very early and is integral to their stroke play.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:27 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The article that claims "banning grunting is not sexist," is ridiculous. Banning grunting is not sexist because grunting in women's tennis is ritualized. Uh. Okay. So what, it's ritualized and serves a purpose. Men don't do it as much, claims the author. Therefore, it's not sexist to ban it.

So what if it's ritualized? What difference does that make? If it serves a tactical purpose, isn't that even more reason to keep it? I mean seriously WHAT THE FUCK?

Ritualized, trained shouting or "grunting" has physiological effects and makes for stronger hits. Hell, I've been taught that in a couple of different martial arts styles, from world class coaches.

Seriously, tennis, WTF?
posted by wuwei at 12:54 AM on June 29, 2012


Having done some martial arts in my youth and being familiar with the concept of kiai, the thing that's always struck me with women's tennis is quite how long the grunts go on for. A quick burst of 'ungh' as you exert yourself, sure, but if you're still vocalising when the ball's on the way back? Strikes me as something that would take effort and concentration away from the tennis. Then again, that's probably just me - Lord knows I've never done any sort of sport anywhere near this level.
posted by Dysk at 12:54 AM on June 29, 2012


I'm old enough to remember when tennis was grunt free and you would no more have grunted when serving than farted.

Maybe that's "next up" as those obnoxiously casual young announcers say these days.
posted by Segundus at 12:57 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you want to see some very loud, very long vocalizations in a martial arts setting: Kendo master instructor match.

Both of the men in the video are 8th dan instructors. To quote Wikipedia an 8th dan "is the highest dan grade attainable through a test of physical kendo skills."
posted by wuwei at 1:01 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sharapova et al have been taking the piss for years. Long overdue.
posted by dmt at 1:03 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


UGGHHH! This makes me so mad.
posted by Flashman at 1:10 AM on June 29, 2012


A Thousand Baited Hooks: "I'll believe this is sexism when someone can point to the male equivalent of this (Williams v Sharapova)."
Never mind the grunting; how can Sharapova play with those dangly earrings? I'd go bananas trying to concentrate with those hitting my neck and cheek at every turn.
posted by brokkr at 1:27 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lotta people who clearly don't follow/aren't interested in tennis weighing in here.

The grunting that Sharapova/Azarenka/etc do is gamesmanship, pure and simple. When you see these people screaming when they hit a drop shot (note: just an example of a drop shot, not an example of screaming during one), screaming for so long that it persists until their opponent hits the ball, and screaming to mask the sound of their own hits, when most players in the top ten are not screaming and have accused other players of using it to gain an unfair advantage, when certain players are regularly reaching screams over 100 decibels, it's simply ignorant and reflexive to immediately brand it sexism.

absolutely sexist. there are prominent male grunters that never seem to make this conversation.

Please share the name of these grunters. I am a very keen follower of tennis and the only top ten player I can think of in recent memory who does this is Nadal, and I would say that a) his groans are nowhere near that loud or drawn, and b) he's notorious for gamesmanship as well. I am drawing a blank for any other prominent male player.

I believe that it should definitely be banned - for both women and men, it's dirty play, and absolutely unnecessary.

But I haven't seen anyone crying sexism demonstrate even a passing familiarity with the game, the players, or the what the actual screaming looks/sounds like in context.
posted by smoke at 1:30 AM on June 29, 2012 [45 favorites]


Thing is though, in calling it 'gamesmanship' (your link goes to a wikipedia 'we don't have a page on this' page by the way) you effectively legitimise it. Now it isn't borderline rule-breaking, it's just tactics. Clever, tactical play...
posted by Dysk at 1:41 AM on June 29, 2012


sorry, see here for a distinct definition.

The thing is, Dysk, until the regulate it, it essentially is tactics and gamesmanship. I look forward to some reform; as the majority of the women on the circuit seem to.
posted by smoke at 1:52 AM on June 29, 2012


I couldn't agree more with smoke. I now watch women's tennis with the sound off.
posted by Pendragon at 1:55 AM on June 29, 2012


So what if it's ritualized? What difference does that make? If it serves a tactical purpose, isn't that even more reason to keep it? I mean seriously WHAT THE FUCK?

Tennis is supposed to be a game of ball control, not intimidation. As linked above, it's just way beyond any physical exertion, and frankly it's a distraction from the tennis. The last male player I can think offhand of who made a habit of grunting loudly was Jimmy Connors, and a great many people thought less of him because of it.

Ritualized, trained shouting or "grunting" has physiological effects and makes for stronger hits. Hell, I've been taught that in a couple of different martial arts styles, from world class coaches.

We love that in Tai Chi. Having your opponent broadcast their next move is like getting a free turn. By all means, continue.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:56 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Diving in soccer serves a tactical purpose as well, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable sporting behaviour.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:51 AM on June 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Can we also do something about the engine noise at those NASCAR events?
posted by HuronBob at 3:20 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


A Thousand Baited Hooks: Diving in soccer serves a tactical purpose as well, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable sporting behaviour.

Diving in football is also against the rules. You'll occasionally see someone get a yellow card for it. Being able to get away with a bit of rule-breaking as tactical play is quite a different kettle of fish to rule-abiding tactical play, in my opinion...
posted by Dysk at 3:53 AM on June 29, 2012


Can we also do something about the engine noise at those NASCAR events?

Better analogy: what if NASCAR allowed whistle tips?

Diving in football is also against the rules. You'll occasionally see someone get a yellow card for it. Being able to get away with a bit of rule-breaking as tactical play is quite a different kettle of fish to rule-abiding tactical play, in my opinion...

This is tautological. Of course diving is technically against the rules. The question is, should excessive grunting remain within the rules? Is it a perfectly acceptable tactic, something that should be explicitly against the rules, or something in between?
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:02 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


grunt - meh
ointment - no
moist - meh
belly - UGH
posted by DU at 4:07 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


scrumptious
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:07 AM on June 29, 2012


While this is being solved, can we all pitch in and buy Roddick and Nadal an outfit that actually fits? We only need to buy one. Give Andy the shirt and Rafa the shorts.

In all seriousness, I've thought about this. What I would do is implement (for both men and women) an on-court decibel meter (or meters with averaged output) and have the display visible only to the chair judge. Set a threshold sound pressure level in the rulebook, perhaps 100 dB. During the course of play if the chair judge deems a player is making too much noise, first caution them, then start awarding points to the opponent. By not having a visible, live dB display for everyone to see and play gotcha with, and only showing this info to the chair, this preserves the subjective, judged aspect of the sport.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 4:09 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"grunt" is one of the few words in the english language that gives me a visceral squick reaction. *shudder*

ointment


You mean oinkment.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:16 AM on June 29, 2012


*actually Rs TFA* Hey, I wasn't far off! Now that that's settled, let's tackle another sexism-in-Tennis topic, that was reopened this week by Gilles Simon. Should men & women get equal prize money when they don't play the same amount of sets?
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 4:30 AM on June 29, 2012


Should men & women get equal prize money when they don't play the same amount of sets?

I had no idea that certain male tennis players were such big fans of the (long-debunked) labor theory of capital.

From TFA: "Sharapova offered a clear answer to why she deserves the money she earns. 'I'm sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his,' she said."

And there you go.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:35 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Should men & women get equal prize money when they don't play the same amount of sets?

That was a stupid remark by Simon - who should know better and was reduced to stuttering about other nameless men on the circuit who agree with him in private. Sharapova's dismissal was gold.

More broadly, the women's field certainly has the athletic ability to go to five sets now, and I think it would really shake up the game dramatically if they did.

One the one hand, the women's field is so open at the moment, anyone can win a slam out of about 10 maybe even 15 people, and that's very exciting; it makes for some great tennis during the tournaments, and mucking around with the formula would certainly close off the option of a championships for some of those 10-15.

On the other hand, 5 sets is a very different ball game (ha ha) to the 2 you need to win otherwise. Almost anyone can run a hot streak for two sets, but when it comes down to the consistency required over a long match, there are many highly ranked players (Stosur, Azarenka, Li leap immediately to mind) that may struggle to maintain that.

But then, for people that run hot and cold like Stosur (ironically one of the fittest players on the circuit, but psychologically not so strong), perhaps the longer duration would give them a chance to overcome the spend bumps that can send them hurtling out of tournaments at the moment. Interesting stuff. I do have to say - much as I love and will always love Federer - the unpredictability of the women's game is making for some great tennis at the moment in contrast to the relatively staid inevitability of a Djokovic/Nadal/Federer/Murray semi in the men's.
posted by smoke at 4:39 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is Tennis supposed to be played "Quiet" anyway? Every other sport fans yell and scream, and you certainly can't hear the athletes. But for some reason people treat tennis games like it's Shakespeare. It's completely absurd.
posted by delmoi at 4:43 AM on June 29, 2012


delmoi: "Every other sport fans yell and scream ..."
Yeah, I know what you mean, those boisterous golf hooligans! And don't get me started on snooker. Tennis is unique!
posted by brokkr at 4:51 AM on June 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I do have to say - much as I love and will always love Federer - the unpredictability of the women's game is making for some great tennis at the moment in contrast to the relatively staid inevitability of a Djokovic/Nadal/Federer/Murray semi in the men's.

I think you may be an outlier. It seems from my vantage point that the consistency of the men's game - the dynasties of Fed/Rafa/Nole - has elevated it and made it more popular, while the lack of transcendent female players have tanked ratings and interest.

As for the 5-set thing, Sharapova may be right that more people watch her matches than Gilles', but in general, men's tennis is still more popular than women's tennis. I think it makes sense to advocate for an equal system where the "event" generates a certain amount of revenue, and that revenue is distributed equally among the women and men. But I'm also one of those people who thinks that in majors, all matches should be of equal length. I think it's strangely old-fashioned to think that women can't "last" for five sets. Please.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:05 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If they stop grunting, where will I get new ringtones?
posted by ocschwar at 5:14 AM on June 29, 2012


Now that that's settled, let's tackle another sexism-in-Tennis topic, that was reopened this week by Gilles Simon.

All players -- men, women, etc. -- should play the same game against each other and be ranked in one big table regardless of sex.

And then they should each be paid an equal fraction of the gate but divided by their world rank going into the tournament. The number 1 player (regardless of sex) would get paid twice as much as the number 2 player (regardless of sex), three times as much as the number 3 player (regardless of sex), and so on. Players who drove ticket sales (great players, sexy ladies and gentlemen, grunters and clowns, etc.) might help every player earn a little more money from tournament to tournament, but the big money would go to the consistent winners. (Or, as usual, to the attractive players who arranged big endorsement deals on the side.)
posted by pracowity at 5:20 AM on June 29, 2012


pracowity, I know you're being sarcastic, but I don't know what you're being sarcastic about. Are you suggesting that paying women equally is ridiculous? Or is there another, more subtle point that just went way over my dunderheaded mind?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:31 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you scan the rant as a QR code, it brings up a coupon for a DVD copy of Wimbledon, starring Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:33 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Come on! Everyone knows the only way to watch women's tennis is to go to turn up the volume on the TV and close your eyes. They should broadcast matches on the /radio/.

See? /That's/ how you do "sexist".
posted by clvrmnky at 5:49 AM on June 29, 2012


smoke: Please share the name of these grunters. I am a very keen follower of tennis and the only top ten player I can think of in recent memory who does this is Nadal, and I would say that a) his groans are nowhere near that loud or drawn, and b) he's notorious for gamesmanship as well. I am drawing a blank for any other prominent male player.

I believe that it should definitely be banned - for both women and men, it's dirty play, and absolutely unnecessary.


Exactly. I am also a big tennis fan, and I don't know any top men's players who grunt as long as the women do. Hearing the ball bounce gives a player information, and masking that sound is unsports(person)like. Also, I am not asking that the women act more feminine -- I think tennis is a gender-neutral sport however it is played -- I'm just asking them to play fair -- men and women. The wrinkle here is that there are separate tennis associations for men and women, so they are regulated differently. The WTA can do whatever it wants separate from the ATP.
posted by bluefly at 5:50 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. I've never really watched tennis, and am surprised to find out that "grunts" are more like what I would describe as "wails of agony".
posted by threeants at 6:10 AM on June 29, 2012


Yeah, that collection of the loudest moments in that Williams v Sharapova match linked above is an ear-opener. Seems kind of obvious the screaming has become a kind of cheat and needs to go.
posted by mediareport at 6:15 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


At one point an announcer in that match nails it: "It's not even grunting anymore; it's roaring."
posted by mediareport at 6:18 AM on June 29, 2012


It is no longer sport, it is theatre.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:26 AM on June 29, 2012


You don't see MLB pitchers grunting, it would absolutely throw off the batter.

As a former Little Leaguer exiled to the outfield by my inability to competently play baseball, I can assure you that my entire purpose on the field was to yell "HeybattabattabattaSWINGbatta!" at batters. I think the pitcher is the only player NOT screaming at the batter, and that's only because he has more important shit to do.

And shrieking has gone too far in women's tennis. This isn't an "oof" or a gasp or an involuntary utterance. It's deliberate, it's an attempt to game the game, and it makes it less fun to watch matches.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:37 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is no longer sport, it is theatre.

It is always theatre. Remember that athletes are paid not because they are great athletes, but because they are great entertainers. I may be the world's greatest office-chair racer, but if no one is willing to pay to watch me race my office chair around a grueling cubicle maze, then I will never be a professional office-chair racer. (Frankly, y'all are missing out, because I am transcendent in that turn around Shelly's stupid ficus.)

If the paying audience (and by "paying," I mean those who buy tickets and those who watch the ads in between the matches and buy the sponsors' products) likes the grunting, then the grunting will stay. There may be some concessions to the minority who doesn't like it ("Tune in to channel 574 for the special Low Volume High Energy audio feed!"), but money drives the train.
posted by Etrigan at 6:54 AM on June 29, 2012


I don't see where in the news article it says that the regulations and countermeasures are only aimed at women. Seems like they would be aimed at men too, even though focus is o the Women's Tennis Association here
posted by Bwithh at 6:54 AM on June 29, 2012


So tennis lovers, why is silence required of the spectators anyway? A cheering crowd would take care of this issue. Even racehorses manage to compete with people screaming in the stands, are tennis players unable to do the same?
posted by emjaybee at 6:56 AM on June 29, 2012


I don't see where in the news article it says that the regulations and countermeasures are only aimed at women. Seems like they would be aimed at men too, even though focus is o the Women's Tennis Association here

The WTA has no jurisdiction over men's tennis.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:57 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


As I believe I said last time we did this, any idiot can grunt. It you want to demonstrate unquestioned court dominance, recite Moby Dick.

"CALL ME!" - WHACK

"ISHMAEL!" - WHACK

"SOME YEARS!" - WHACK

"AGO!" - WHACK

"NEVER MIND!" - WHACK

"HOW LONG!" - WHACK

or possibly The Great Gatsby.

"IN MY!" - WHACK

"YOUNGER!" - WHACK

"AND MORE!" WHACK

"VULNERABLE!" - WHACK

"YEARS!" - WHACK

The end result would be not unlike chessboxing, and would demonstrate that, while your opponent is just hitting a ball around, you're playing a whole other game.
posted by Naberius at 7:02 AM on June 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


Grunting in tennis is one of the things that turns me off from watching it, every time. Nadal is a particularly bad offender.
posted by downing street memo at 7:10 AM on June 29, 2012


Just wanted to say that stoneandstar's commentary here is brilliant.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:11 AM on June 29, 2012


emjaybee: "So tennis lovers, why is silence required of the spectators anyway?"
It's traditionally a "gentleman's" (i.e. bourgeois) sport. Contrast with soccer.
posted by brokkr at 7:13 AM on June 29, 2012


Cricket was traditionally a gentleman's game, but I seldom see drunker groups of people than the spectators at a cricket grounds...
posted by Dysk at 7:24 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is Tennis supposed to be played "Quiet" anyway?
why is silence required of the spectators anyway?"


I don't know if us tennis lovers can give an answer that would satisfy folks who aren't into it, but I would say, ultimately, out of respect for the game, the players, and the other spectators.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:28 AM on June 29, 2012


klangklangston: "From here on out, they'll only be allowed to yell, "Kiiiiiiiiyaih!""

Now I'm just picturing Miss Piggy playing tennis...
posted by schmod at 7:34 AM on June 29, 2012


Stoopid. I didn't understand all the grunting until I was playing against a friend and we had been out there for a while and I was getting tired and really pushing myself. I went for a tough get and had to sprint and hit the ball really hard and...I grunted. It was loud. I remember thinking, "so that's why they make all that noise. They are pushing their bodies to the limit and it's unintentional." This is much ado about not a goddamn thing.
posted by zzazazz at 7:43 AM on June 29, 2012


Unintentional, right. Did you watch the Williams vs. Sharapova clip?
posted by brokkr at 7:45 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


> This is much ado about not a goddamn thing.

Then why are they screaming from the very first serve? This is clearly a recent development in the sport. Now, a case could be made that they're simply louder now because they feel more secure in the acceptance of women as aggressive competitors whereas in previous times women tennis players were expected to be "ladylike", but it's obvious that the volume has gotten louder.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:47 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stoopid. I didn't understand all the grunting until I was playing against a friend and we had been out there for a while and I was getting tired and really pushing myself. I went for a tough get and had to sprint and hit the ball really hard and...I grunted. It was loud. I remember thinking, "so that's why they make all that noise. They are pushing their bodies to the limit and it's unintentional." This is much ado about not a goddamn thing.

The thing is, whether or not they're doing it because they're "pushing their bodies to the limit" is disputed. Males tennis players, for the most part, don't do it nearly as loud or as long as female players. Some noise is to be expected, but there's good reason to believe that these players are accentuating their noise making in order to gain a competitive advantage. Whether or not that competitive advantage should be allowed is a different question, obviously.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:48 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love those awkward silences after a swear gets through!

My favorite one I saw was during a live concert with The Who; they were doing "Who Are You," and apparently someone at the network was not aware that one of the lyrics to that song contain the line "Tell me, who the FUCK are you?"

As to the matter at hand - okay, the argument that "this isn't grunting, this is shouting and that can disrupt the other players" is fair. However, unless they're also instilling these noise-meters at men's games, there's a double-standard at play here. Because I doubt that male tennis players have all been playing in a serene monk-like silence.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:54 AM on June 29, 2012


There is no double standard here. The women and men each play within separate organizations with separate rules, charters, etc. It's pretty simple. The Council on Perceived Equanimity has no jurisdiction here.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:57 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Equality
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 AM on June 29, 2012


Yeah, they don't even use the same sized tennis balls.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 8:00 AM on June 29, 2012


She said size didn't matter!
posted by Etrigan at 8:03 AM on June 29, 2012


Yeah, no more grunting.

And get rid of those short dresses, too. Not ladylike at all. You can't concentrate on the game because you are always trying to see her undies....well, not me...I'm just saying...
posted by mule98J at 8:14 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Me, I want howling banshees wailing at each other as they rally. I want shrieks and mean-muggin and fuckin' with the other cat's mojo. Get inside their heads, throw off their concentration, then hit 'em hard when they're off balance. I wanna see athletes who act like they're doing every thing they can to score more points than the person they're squared off against.

Because these are professionals and first place comes with a much bigger paycheck than 2nd. There are no points for style, only points.

Miyomoto Mushasi said that since Samurai carried two swords they should fight with both katana and wakizashi at the same time (instead of the traditional katana-only fighting). ""To die with your sword still in its sheath is most regrettable".

Don't leave that +5 Sword of Grunting in the scabbard.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:35 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tennis may not be for you then, PBZM. Luckily there is like, almost every other sport that caters to what you want.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 8:51 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


My understanding has always been that the grunting was as much about covering up the sound of the impact as about putting effort into the swing. In that sense it's certainly a tactical move, not to "throw off" the opponent, but to make their job harder. I don't see why that's an issue.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:07 AM on June 29, 2012





There is no double standard here. The women and men each play within separate organizations with separate rules, charters, etc. It's pretty simple. The Council on Perceived Equanimity has no jurisdiction here.
posted by Burhanistan


That's not necessarily true. Entry into those leagues is defined by gender, so differences between the two leagues become all the more stark. Segregation absolutely does make institutionalized inequality easier. If you're going to have segregated men and women's leagues, it becomes more important than ever to ensure that they receive similar treatment.

Honestly, gender is a precarious way to define league membership in the first place. If it's about physical ability, then it seems much more reasonable to define it according to that, and not based on sexual characteristics that really shouldn't have anything to do with the game itself. (weight categories?)
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:12 AM on June 29, 2012


Ok, but these are private organizations, which is why I said there's really no good comparison other than an academic one. Unless you want some kind of state regulated tennis, then they will have to be taken on their own terms.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:16 AM on June 29, 2012


Sport is all about style. None of it makes sense. What matters is whether something violates style or not.
posted by deo rei at 9:27 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Shelly's stupid ficus" would be a great band name.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:02 AM on June 29, 2012


I wanna see athletes who act like they're doing every thing they can to score more points than the person they're squared off against.

If the ladies were brandishing handguns, they might score more points and their opponents might be more polite.
posted by straight at 10:03 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


> their opponents might be more polite.

Heh. Though, what's interesting is that the women are usually very polite and professional with each other on court. They have to, since they'll spend hours looking directly at one another on multiple occasions. The judges and court staff are those who get the players' worst.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 AM on June 29, 2012


Found while googling
posted by MangyCarface at 10:11 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


If the ladies were brandishing handguns, they might score more points and their opponents might be more polite.

It's going to take me a few minutes to convince Spike that they should green-light this, but we're going to be rich.
posted by griphus at 10:15 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Women's tennis needs to become BASEketball.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:20 AM on June 29, 2012


Yeah, I dunno. I feel like if it worked they would have been doing it for 75 years now and have detailed statistical analysis of the best way to grunt.

Moneygrunt, with Brad Pitt.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:26 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, they don't even use the same sized tennis balls.

The size is the same, it's just the felt coating is regular- instead of heavy-duty. It's a pretty subtle difference.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:28 AM on June 29, 2012


mediareport: "Yeah, that collection of the loudest moments in that Williams v Sharapova match linked above is an ear-opener. Seems kind of obvious the screaming has become a kind of cheat and needs to go."


Yeah, grunting does not even begin to describe the sheer decibels of shrieking that goes on in women's tennis now. It masks the sound of the ball and the racquet hit, it's a distraction, and in person; it's crazy loud. As someone mentioned above, some of them are almost as loud as a jet flying 100 feet above you.

I recently played a casual tennis ladder, where one young woman started doing that screaming thing after she lost her first set. All five courts stopped what they were doing, and went over to ask her to stop or forfeit her spot. It's uncalled for, it's rude, and it's not how the game should be played.

It has nothing to do with ladylike; it has everything to do with the game itself. If men were out there primal screaming with every shot, their league would take the same action, I can almost guarantee it.

Someone upstream asked why the crowds are silent during volleys; it's so the players can hear the ball. Exertion grunting; yeah, that's gonna happen at the level of play that these athletes are performing...but this isn't some little "ooof", this is a full on 3 second shriek that often lasts past when their opponent has returned the ball. It's ridiculous.
This shrieking is nothing more than cheating and it should be banned.
posted by dejah420 at 11:33 AM on June 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also clearly Gilles Simon is being an ass monkey, but I would actually love to see 5-set matches on the women's side. I think the athleticism is certainly there and it might lead the game in interesting directions.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:46 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


We love that in Tai Chi. Having your opponent broadcast their next move is like getting a free turn. By all means, continue.

Oh you mean like this guy?
posted by wuwei at 11:52 AM on June 29, 2012


Turns out I do this a lot while I'm coding.
posted by newdaddy at 12:01 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wankel Rotary Engine.
posted by gern at 12:39 PM on June 29, 2012


Wuwei - yes, but since it's very much a balance thing when you're doing a solo form you have to check yourself to make up for the lack of an opponent's body weight. This would probably explain better than several paragraphs; note how fluid the movements are, and how heavily geared towards stealing momentum from the opponent. There was an excellent FPP on it previously, with lots of links and insightful commentary.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:44 PM on June 29, 2012


Watching a little of the 2011 Wimbledon Final I'm actually not convinced this is so unique to women. Djokovic and Nadal both seem to be grunting pretty hard and consistently here, just at a lower pitch.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:58 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would a decibel limit satisfy suspicions of value-judgements? Decibels can be measured by a machine that does not distinguish between opera signing, rock metal screaming, exertion grunting, or anything else, and a fair bit is known about intermittent high decibels being discomforting.

If it's an argument that fan preferences should not influence the rules of the game, I think that's just a fundamental misunderstanding of the game. A decision has been made by the league that the benefits of being a product for mainstream consumption are well worth it. There are other leagues that are not on TV, and don't have big followings, for people who don't care about audience or glory or status, only about hitting the ball.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:59 PM on June 29, 2012


Why is Tennis supposed to be played "Quiet" anyway? why is silence required of the spectators anyway?"

I don't think that people who watch tennis regularly - or only on television - appreciate how much closer you are to the court than the majority of spectator sports. You can be less than ten metres away from the players when you're on the court. In this context, the noises are very loud which is why catcalls etc during play are frowned upon, it really is very disturbing.

Djokovic and Nadal both seem to be grunting pretty hard and consistently here yt , just at a lower pitch.

I would argue that is not representative of the men's field in general - or even the course of one of their own matches (with the possible exception of Nadal, who, as I say is notorious for gamesmanship in genera), and also that is not on par with Azarenka/Sharapova, in either volume or duration, and you don't see either of those players grunting when they're not slamming the ball.
posted by smoke at 3:16 PM on June 29, 2012


Djokovic and Nadal both seem to be grunting pretty hard and consistently here yt , just at a lower pitch.

I would be fine with men's tennis having similar rules. It's just that the WTA is a totally self-contained body, AFAIK. Meanwhile, Michelle Larcher de Brito wins the prize for Extreme Grunting.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:33 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


What about when they get stabbed?






(too soon?)
posted by srboisvert at 5:34 PM on June 29, 2012


Grunting has been around since forever but Monica Seles was the one who introduced screaming. There has got to be some kind of U-shaped or inverse-U-shaped function where a little grunt is helpful and a bunch of grunting transforming into screaming is a waste of energy. (If the women screamed for five sets that might be an interesting comparison.) Seles was a student at the Boliteri academy so the comment above blaming him may not be totally off. I don't like grunting dudes at the gym and I don't like grunting people on my tennis telecasts; the television set is trivial to turn down, but the only option they have at courtside is earplugs or cotton balls.

It definitely is a hindrance to the opponent because the sound of the ball whacking off the strings is full of clues to how the shot is going to travel.
posted by bukvich at 6:14 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I fully grant that the screaming may or does conceal information from the opponent. And? Concealing information from one's opponent is kind of a foundational concept in basically every sport ever. Misleading eye movements and gestures, feints and fakes, etc.
posted by kavasa at 8:43 PM on June 29, 2012


An important datum: Anna Kournikova.

Lion's roar 110 [decibels]
Maria Sharapova 101
Monica Seles 93.2
Serena Williams 88.9
Lindsay Davenport 88
Venus Williams 85
Victoria Azarenka 83.5
Elena Bovina 81
Anna Kournikova 78.5

Perhaps Ms. Sharapova is losing endorsement money by screaming. (decibels are logarithmic and 101 dB is ~ 3X louder than 78.5.)
posted by bukvich at 9:13 PM on June 29, 2012


I don't think it is correct to label this as sexist. The WTA has standards as to how they want their players to behave on court. Maybe the men's league doesn't care, but we shouldn't begrudge the WTA from having some expectations of conduct. And I don't mind the occasional grunt especially when a player is going in for the kill, but to scream when you are doing a drop shot is cheating AFAIC. And Azarenka just seems to like the sounds of her bird calls and it lasts way too long.

It's hard watching tennis these days with all the screaming. I'm all for this. And I can't think of any male players that abuse it like this unless many many of the women.
posted by WilliamMD at 9:55 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


In fencing, we have many of the same arguments, except that the guys yell too. The women whose screams are loud and high come in for considerable criticism because it hurts the ears, but people give the guys a hard time too. Interestingly, we have very few spectators; it isn't done for the audience. Some argue that it is done to sway the referee, and it's pretty comical to have two guys roaring like lions, making fists, and turning to the referee, only to have the referee say "Simultaneous actions. No touch. On guard." Some people, who see it as an affront to their civilized ideals of competition, would like to have the yelling outlawed. People can get very offended. Especially since it seems it's partly under the athlete's control: You're not supposed to yell before you hit someone, so people don't. Instead, they yell afterwards, often politely turning away so they don't yell in their opponents' faces.

I yell. Mostly when I've pulled off a really spectacular action. It's more surprise and exhilaration than anything else.
posted by Peach at 1:50 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, fencing is a sport that is LITERALLY AND EXPLICITLY derived from techniques used to commit murder against someone trying to murder you back.

And people don't want yelling as you go through the motions of trying to slash open a person's body so they bleed out or ram sharp steel through their organs?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:40 AM on June 30, 2012


Peach I had no idea there was high decibel sound effects in fencing, which I have only seen photos, never watched a match. Now I am wondering who else yells that I do not know about. Shot putters & discus & javelin throwers? Table tennis? Squash? The guy on the gym rings? Wrestlers? Greco-Roman wrestlers? Sumo wrestlers?

There is an askme question for good youtubes I guess.
posted by bukvich at 10:45 AM on June 30, 2012


It would seem people are missing out on the key word "excessive." To me it describes yells and shouts above and beyond reasonable expectations.

I'm all for an athlete yelling at the moment of exertion, such as when hitting a tennis ball or spiking a volleyball. I'm also for athletes yelling throughout continued exertion, such as power-lifters during an olympic press.

But excessive yelling ought to have some form of punishment. When a tennis player (male or female) shouts as they swat that ball over 50mph with a forehand, that's one thing. When their shout extends even to the moment where they're waiting for the return, that's beyond reason.

Maybe these players don't have to be penalized on the court, if there are still people who think it's part of the game to distract or mislead the opponent. Maybe hit the wallet instead, and fine them a significant amount for each infraction.
posted by CancerMan at 1:28 PM on July 2, 2012


Maybe hit the wallet instead, and fine them a significant amount for each infraction.

This might work for players lower down in the rankings, but fines are already in place for other bad behaviors -- berating umpires, breaking rackets, calling opponents names, etc, and it doesn't seem to help. Serena Williams had a series of high profile incidents that led to fines, and that hasn't really stopped her. The players at the top of the rankings make too much money for a $5K fine to do much. (I realize they could fine them more; but I think penalizing/dq'ing them is still probably more effective. They all want to play -- you can't win, if you can't play. And they all want to win above everything else).
posted by bluefly at 5:02 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


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