By Ann Liguori
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It’s about time a top-ranked professional tennis player complained about players grunting! I’ve been saying it for years – there is no place for grunting in tennis! It’s annoying to opponents, spectators and the TV audience! And it is a distraction for one’s opponent!

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Caroline Wozniacki, who will finish the year as the top-ranked player for the second straight year, recently said that grunting is very distracting and that some players grunt on purpose…that they don’t necessarily grunt in practice but they grunt in matches to gain an extra edge.

I think she is right!

“I think the officials could definitely cut it,” added Wozniacki. “If you grunt really loudly your opponent cannot hear how you hit the ball. Because the grunt is so loud, you think the ball is coming fast and suddenly the ball just goes slowly. In tight moments, maybe the grunt helps them with getting less nervous…”

If you’ve never heard Maria Sharapova:

And Victoria Azarenka’s shriek:

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You would think someone is dying on the court! The Williams sisters grunt as well, although their grunts are lower pitched. And for those of you who watch a lot of tennis, who may have watched Michelle Larcher de Brito play, her grunts were both high-pitched and long, lasting at least five syllables!  Monica Seles was really the first to take grunting to an annoying level. Seles was relentless with her screams and you always knew when Seles’ matches started, even if you were not in the stadium.

To be fair, grunting is just not confined to the women’s game. Jimmy Connors grunted. So did Andre Agassi.  Rafael Nadal groans loudly every time he hits the ball. So does Fernando Gonzales.

I do think the tennis organizations need to come up with a rule against excessive grunting.

When Serena screamed ‘come on’ in the second set of her US Open finals match this past September against Samantha Stosur, the match umpire penalized Serena the point, citing her for ‘verbal hindrance’ because she shouted before Stosur swung at the ball. While I don’t think Serena should have lost her temper and carried on like she did, I never thought her yelling ‘come on’ during the point was half as distracting as many of the player’s grunting when they hit the ball.

What are your thoughts about players grunting? Let us know in the comments below!

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