Grunting and Groaning on the Tennis Courts of the World

English: Monica Seles in 1991 Français : Monic...

English: Monica Seles in 1991 Français : Monica Seles en 1991 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you remember the sudden appearance of Monica Seles’ ground-breaking grunts on the tennis court? Well, as you’ve no doubt experienced, court-grunting has gone from strength to strength. Seles was the pioneer of all grunts, but I must say, watching Maria Sharapova’s victory over Sara Errani in the French Open on Saturday, compared to theirs, Seles’ sounded like the weak bleats of a lamb.

According to newspaper reports these grunts have even been measured for their intensity of sound, with Portugal’s Larcher de Brito coming out on top with 109 decibels. Apparently she stole top position from Sharapova who groans, or grunts, not sure which, at 103 decibels.

Why do they do it? Who knows? Explanations range from, a strategy of putting your opponent off, to giving more energy and “Umf” to your shots. Lately, the whole idea of adding a little sexual sensuality to the game has been postulated.

Sara Errani - US Open 2010

Sara Errani – US Open 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now this last one, I must confess, had me perplexed. I just couldn’t see the connection, but a friend of mine solved it, or should I say his wife did, through an experience he had while watching the Sharapova/Errani final. Both players were “heh- hawing” and shrieking away when suddenly his wife burst in on him in the lounge, a shocked look on her face, “I can’t believe you’re watching porn,” she cried.

He whipped around, “What are you talking about?” he said, mystified and pained. Then, in a flash, they both got it and collapsed with laughter. So you see there is something to be said about the theory of adding a little more sexual sensuality to the game.

That said, I must say, even if it puts “umf” and sensuality in to your game, or helps you gain ascendancy over your opponent, I find it off-putting and a real annoyance. But that’s just me. Maybe I’m missing something, or maybe I’m just plain old fashioned. I don’t know. How do you feel?


About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
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8 Responses to Grunting and Groaning on the Tennis Courts of the World

  1. Vince says:

    Thanks for airing this Don it is something friends and ourselves have offer spoken about. It has come to the point that I cannot stand watching women’s tennis so ether switch off tha sound or just change stations. As to the sexual side, well that should be kept for “porn” and not brought onto the tennis court. In closing have noted that our fellows are also starting to “Grunt” guess that time will come where I will have to switch off the tennis or watch porn. P.S Glor states that maybe we are just getting old and grumpy. Vince


  2. Anett Whitehead says:

    Hi there you old Germistonians. It feels so good to read your blog and comments – as if connecting for old times sake and brings back such sweet memories. I just wanted to pick up on Vince’s “getting old and grumpy” Is it not a fact that we now have to start guarding the grumpy side carefully with our life. Anett Whitehead.


  3. ladyfi says:

    Oh, that’s funny. I always thought they grunted because of the effort of serving with power…


  4. josna says:

    How did I miss this terrific post! Reading it now as the women’s final is nbout to begin. Women’s grunting and the decorum of Wimbledon make quite a combo! I particularly noted the closeness of the words “grunt” and “grump.” Do you think that there’s a directly proportionate relationship between the women’s grunts and the male viewers’ grumpiness? Do the men think that the grunting should be reserved for them, grunters from way back in the caveman day? But to clarify, I believe that old people have earned the right to be grumpy and idiosyncratic, and the rest of the world has to learn to live with it! I note that grump factor creeping in, and notice myself being very defiant about it. Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me, young man. To end this ramble on a literary note, I’ve always liked Yeats’ line, “Why should old men not be mad?” Mad as in crazy, not angry, but you get the point. . .


    • Don says:

      You pose some very interesting questions. I must say, Josna, that whether it is male or female I just find it deeply annoying on the tennis court. Love the line by Yeats


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