Thursday, June 18, 2009

Noise Abatement in London:: Heathrow? Gatwick? No, Wimbledon

So, Wimbledon starts up next week, complete with a new roof, so no more rain-delayed marathons, like last year's epic Federer-Nadal match. but, will that roof trap the sounds of the grunters? In the past, men have been the grunters, namely Connors and Agassi, but women have taken it over. There was Seles {at 93 decibels}, but now there's Sharapova {100+ db} and the Williams sisters {85-90 db}. See clip above for a sample of Sharapova v. V. Williams. The French Open had Michelle Larcher de Brito receive an unofficial warning for her caterwauling, but despite complaints by her opponent, Aravane Rezaï, her only sanctioning were the boos from the crowd at Roland Garros. Here's a link to Larcher de Brito at the French.

The Sunday Times had an article on Wimbledon cracking down on grunting this year and the International Tennis Federation is considering on making "noise hindrance" a part of its code. The main issue is distraction, but what about the fans?

Sue Barker of the BBC thinks that the shriekers are detracting from the sport::
"I have lost count of the number of people who have written to me saying grunting spoils their enjoyment of a match. It’s unattractive; it’s distracting. I would like to see it ultimately done away with. But while they should tighten up the rules, you cannot expect a player to stop immediately."
She noted that when Monica Seles tried to quiet down in her only Wimbledon final in 1992, she didn't play her normal game. Grunting doesn't bug me that much, but I can see how it can be distracting and a turn-off for the fans. I think for many, it's just a point of ridicule, akin to "Lassie"::

Yeah, that's Kim Catrall. I just wonder if Serena Williams starts to disrupt her opponents through grunting and she gets away with it, will they accuse her of cheating?

Twitterversion:: #newblogpost #Wimbledon to clamp down on grunting during matches. Disruptive to players & annoying to fans? #Sharapova @Prof_K

Video: Live-Old Grey Whistle Test


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