Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quiet Please

The elite tennis players in the world are currently at Wimbledon, hoping to win the third and most prestigious Grand Slam of the year. With all the stories at Wimbledon, one story struck out like a sore thumb.

Not the story of the home hero Andy Murray, who is a genuine contender at Wimbledon; not the story of Roger Federer who is seeking to create history by winning his 15th Grand Slam title; not even the stupid story about the brand new retractable roof at Centre Court which haven’t seen any action so far; the story that I find ridiculous is the story about the grunters in tennis.

Portugal’s Michele Larcher de Brito has a grunt that has been measured at 100-decibel and a long line of players and ex-players believe something has to be done about this. I mean it’s saying something when even Maria Sharapova’s shriek pale in comparison to yours. Personally I don’t see what’s so difficult in banning the practice. I mean there’s no reason to grunt, Roger Federer won 14th Grand Slam titles without a sound, ditto for Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova, 2 of the most successful women players in history. So grunting doesn’t help your play.

Another thing is the fact that tennis require fans to keep quiet during points. If you can ask that of your fans, why not players? I mean it make little sense to ask fans to keep silent when the players are screaming like banshees on court. If umpires can say “Quiet please” to fans, why can’t they say the same to players?

Personally I don’t find the grunting a problem but I’m not the one playing. So if there are players who are unhappy with the grunters, then ban the practice. If not, then allow fans to make noise during points, even during serve; that’s fair for all.

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