Navratilova not a fan of grunting

Published 02/24/2015, 12:59 PM EST

It draws the ire of many tennis fans that when they watch the modern game it can at times resemble a glass-shattering shriek fest.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Victoria Palmer, an American tennis player during the early 1960’s, is credited as being the sport’s first ever grunter.

Martina Navratilova, the winner of 18 grand-slam titles, is one former player who has been quite vocal against grunting.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVvPzRpAe8Q

Navratilova won the Wimbledon crown a record nine times, including six in a row from 1982-1987 but when she faced Monica Seles in 1992 the vocals on display from the Serbian proved too much for even her to handle. Navratilova said: “I remember how it was when Monica (Seles) and I were competitors and she began to grunt.”

“I couldn’t hear the ball. I thought to myself, ‘Do I mention it to the umpire, do I say something to her? What should I do?’ And Monica was a friend. I had to say something in the end.”

For years, the grunts and shrieks of top female tennis players at Wimbledon have provided fodder for Britain’s pun-loving tabloid journalists. Armed with a Bruel & Kjaer sound-level meter that they refer to as the “grunt-o-meter,” they have at various times informed readers that tennis players are noisier than a pneumatic drill, a police siren or a 747 taking off.

While Navratilova and others claim that silent players are at a disadvantage, history shows it might be the noisier players who suffer on the court, at least in the short-term. At the 1992 Wimbledon final, for example, Seles, after being savaged in the press for her distinctive two-tone grunting, played in near silence and was defeated by German Steffi Graf. After the match, Graf admitted, “There was so much talk about her grunting that I think maybe it got to her a little bit.” That’s enough to make a competitive tennis player howl.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Harit Pathak

164 articles

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK