Screaming & grunting to be banned from tennis, really? Sorry Sharapova…

Time magazine and others report that officials at this year’s Wimbledon tournament might crack down on loud screams during play – possibly banning it.

Maria Sharapova Screams while hitting

Maria Sharapova Screams while hitting

With new attention brought to it Martina Navratilova’s call for grunting to be deemed cheating, the International Tennis Federation is poised to crack down.The ITF is considering broadening the measures that officials can take in penalizing repeat offenders such as Maria Sharapova. Umpires already can award a point against players if their grunting is deemed to have hindered their opponent. But now the ITF is weighing up whether to include “noise hindrance” in its code of conduct, according to Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper.

Under the new rule, persistent offenders could be defaulted from a match under a penalty scale which, at first, calls for the docking of points and then games.  Sharapova is one of the worst grunters while several male players have also been criticized for the habit.

Here’s a quick list of the 4 worst screamers in tennis:

  • Venus and Serena Williams have hit 90 decibels
  • Monica Seles’ screech was measured at 93 decibels at Wimbledon in 1992.
  • Maria Sharapova occasionally topping 100 decibels.
  • Michelle Larcher de Brito – 109 decibels – a level slightly lower than a jet taking off

Apparently, some players find the screeching distracting. Here’s a quick video of Maria Sharapova and de Britoe having a fight of the grunting Queens.

Here’s a quick history of grunting in tennis:

  • 1974: Grunting pioneer Jimmy Connors wins first Wimbledon title
  • 1988: Ivan Lendl complains about Andre Agassi at US Open
  • 1992: Monica Seles spoken to by officials at Wimbledon
  • 2005: Maria Sharapova’s grunt reaches 101 decibels
  • 2009: Michelle Larcher de Brito receives unofficial warning at Roland Garros

Do you think grunting should be banned in tennis or does it add to the game?  I think it’s starting to become annoying. Even the New York Times agrees.

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85 responses to “Screaming & grunting to be banned from tennis, really? Sorry Sharapova…

  1. This screaming & grunting carried out by so many pro tennis players these days amounts to no more than blatent exhibitionism, it’s really all just unneccessary bullshit…I have personally put it to the test & found that the tennis ball can be hit just as hard & aggressively without any apparent noise…just a matter of self control thats all.

    • I agree, it’s become a distraction to the sport. Imagine if Tiger Woods grunted every time he hit the golf ball? Annoying thought isn’t it?

    • Hate it too, opponents must refuse to play here, if she doent stop screaming.

    • John D Gwazdosky

      Sharapova right now in the first match is driving me nuts with her screeming. This crap must be banned. i played Tennis for many years and it was considered to be very unsport like to match these noises. PLEASE BANNED THIS CRAP ONCE AND FOR ALL!

  2. I used to love to watch pro tennis. No more. First and foremost because of the awful screaming by both the men and the women. I needs to be banned. And secondly, there is no excitement in the outcome anymore. The men’s winner is Federer an the women’s winner is one of the Williams sisters. Yawn, ho-hum.

  3. Arf,
    I don’t think that’s going to happen this year with Isner’s win over Roddick and a possible upset of the WIlliams sister, tennis is always unexpected, I love it & always will!!

  4. All of the loud-mouthed screamers got whipped at the US Open this month. The only player they
    are trying to disrupt….turns out to be themselves. I had always assumed that, whoever
    was banging Sharapova, would have to use ear
    plugs. However, her boyfriend report that she
    doesn’t make a sound….just lays there. Go figure! This stupid behavior on the tennis court
    has to be banned….period!

  5. I find the grunting adding to the game – I’ve watched some “silent” games and it’s booooring – When Masha plays it’s kinda like an accompaniment to her strokes – and often you can hear when she’s going for the BIG hit or when she has failed

    I can not imagine to watch a Masha game without her grunts – it’s so Masha – and as she said – watch the game – instead of getting annoyed – cause when a Masha in good form is playing – man – that’s something – No one has given women tennis such a boost ever – Not Martina Navratilova – not Steffie Graf etc – no one!

    Cheating? – Naaahhh – As far as I know – no one on the WTA tour have complained?

  6. And oh – I can not understand all the annoyment about it – small minded – all you’ve to do is to use your volume button – geeezzz!

  7. What happens if you actually paid for seats to watch the game in person? How do you lower the volume then? Grunting is stupid. If you have to really reach for a shot, then OK… Then again, if you have to really reach for a shot, then maybe you weren’t in the right position and you should learn to anticipate shots better, like Pete Sampras, or Roger Federer.

  8. Well what about Boxing, Boxers are taught to exhale loudly whilst throwing a punch so why is it so wrong to do it in Tennis?

  9. Did not hear such screaming from her when I was on the court.

  10. Ok George, are you serious? “What if you brought tickets for a game to watch in person?” Seriously! Then dont watch! Go to another court (as far as I know, when you have a ticket for say centre court, you should be able to get into most of the others for nothing) so why not just move?

  11. I wonder whether they do it in practice?

  12. I think that the ITF will regulate the screaming if they start losing money due to it. I see 3 ways for the public to influence this, that combined may have a great impact:
    1. Petition to ITF. All those who dislike the screaming to sing a petition to the ITF, to regulate the screaming.
    2. Boycotting the screamers. The spectators of big tournaments to avoid buying tickets to those matches where screamers play, or those who have a day pass to chose any other match apart from those of screamers. I know we should not miss out on a great match just because of the loud noises, but it may have a great result. Sponsors pay a lot of money to have a big audience. If these players, although great tennis players, do not get our attentions, sponsors will eventually redirect their funds. I think Sharapova or the Williams sisters will immediately stop screaming if their main sponsor threatens to leave them. this works for tournament organizers, too. If you cannot guarantee a certain amount of spectators, you cannot get the sponsor. To go even further… if all those who dislike the screaming chose not to watch those matches on TV, the statement would be even more powerful.
    3. how about showing them how annoying they are? Yes, tennis players are able to manage their emotions, but how would they like it if during each break, the public imitated them, mocked their screaming. If they do not allow us to enjoy the game by screaming, we can not allow them to regroup and hold their temper during the breaks. Can they really win matches if they are constantly mocked by their own public? I have not tested this, but I am sure that this solution would have an immediate result. I am sure that Azarenka, Shrapova or any other would simply stop shouting.

    Ass you all said tennis is not about screaming.

    • Irina,
      Well said. Your first idea has the most power I think. If they started to fine players or take away points it would stop.

  13. YA SO what are they waiting for? ban it Already

  14. If you people don’t like it, then don’t watch period. Stop all your whining. Its worse than their grunting. When players grunt when they hit the ball I know they are giving their all to compete. Can you just imagine if they put microphone on Basketball and football players and hears everyword when they talk trash to each other?

    • It’s not the grunting thats annoying, it’s the screaming. It’s cheating, pure & simple, just done to put off their opponent. How on earth the quiet players manage to concentrate I do not know.

      • Not cheating, disagree with you Mary. A true athlete won’t let that bother him. Heck my tennis partner curses and throws his racquet across the court….. guess what….. HE LOSES!! I maintain control and don’t let that crap get to me.

    • You have obviously never even played tennis if this doesn’t grate on on your concentration and response. These people who say just turn the volume down??? I enjoy the commentary. Note: the sports casters don’t like the screaming and unsportsman like conduct of these prima-donna’s either. I am put off by these players who contest calls to the tune of a long break which intentionally throws the rhythm of the match off. Williams, Conners, Mcenroe, Sharapova are all coddled poor sports who long since should have been repremanded and fined BIG so it might actually stick.

  15. I love to see her lose
    just to shut her up

  16. Rudehamster....~O'>

    Just watching Sharapova v Robson at Wimbledon. Sharapova’s screaming is really annoying me. I can see when she hits a loud note it really does disturb the otheor player. I’ve had to sit on Court when she’s been playing…the noise is extraordinary: I left after a set, I really couldn’t cope with the screams.

  17. Sharapova’s loud shrieking (screaming) is absolutely ridiculous and completely unnecessary, especially given (in my opinion) the actual *lack* of physical power on display. There is *zero* physical performance link between the shrieking/screaming and power output in tennis. I would argue strongly that power is generated by a deep muscular contraction, especially in the abdominal region, coupled with rotation and power transfer to the extremities. The player is “tight” when hitting the shot; the exhalation/breath comes after. In my opinion, the shrieking is a tactic to annoy, irritate and distract. It certainly does that from a spectator perspective.

    Even more of a concern is that she is not the only one who does this. Other examples are De Brito (an absolute *joke* of a scream/shriek), Azarenka (another *joke* of a scream/shriek) and the Williams sisters. And there are others still. Before this, there was the ludicrous Seles two-tone shriek (again, a scream/shriek, and certainly not a grunt or a sigh).

    Also note: I have noted debates over whether “grunting” is acceptable in woman’s tennis. This is not grunting. This is shrieking and screaming. It really is a complete joke, and renders the woman’s game a laughing stock to anyone who actually understands sports performance. It is actually embarrassing.

  18. J McEnroe used to swear by it.
    M. Sharapova grunts by it

  19. Maria S. drives me crazy, each time she pays I have to turn the volume down. Its a mean thing to do, only goal is to impress und make the opponent unsecure. This has to stop.

  20. Yes ban the screaming, it just ruins watching a match when this screaming goes on ie Sharapova. I know sometimes it is not possible to control or is part of the game, but she is just too loud. Must be very off putting for the opponent.
    Please BAN BAN BAN it

  21. grunting on a difficult hit, thats one thing, every serve, don’t think so. If they players can make all that noise, then why does the crowd have to be silent? I really think that people who think that grunting is part of the game need hearing aids. There is enough noise between the rackett and the ball to let you know what is going on. I think it is time to knock off the dramatics and play the game not the noise level!

    • little noise on tough shot fine. Every serve and every hit, no way. Banned the screaming . Not needed and with all the players in tennis who don’t do it is proof enough that we don’t need to listen to it and they don’t need it .

      • Well said, dismiss her sponsers and she WILL shut up. I really like the croud participation thing though. When the ball is thrown up, the croud can scream at her. See if it distracts her. She can’t win without cheating & will milk it for as long as her ethics don’t
        get in the way

  22. i agree with navratilova….it is cheating, unnecessary and unsportsmanlike….start penalizing the screamers!

    • Do you think that the tennis powers that be ever read any of these comments? You can see the same complaints on any site. Why don’t they take any notice of the people that pay to go to tournaments and pay to watch on TV?

  23. Pingback: should shrieking be banned in women's tennis

  24. Here’s hoping the non screamers will be the winners today so we can enjoy the final. I have friends who whon’t watch the women anymore due to the screaming alone.

  25. Here’s hoping the non screamers will both win today so we can enjoy the final. I have friends who won’t watch the women because of the screaming.

  26. Pingback: Why does Maria Sharapova scream so much? | Tennis Noise

  27. I have stopped watching pro tennis because of the porno-style screaming. I don’t like muting the sound because I do get a lot from the dialog of the commentators. Sorry tennis screamers. You’ve spoiled it for me.

    • Same here unfortunately, How in the world did Rod Laver and A. Ashe amoung thousands make it without this screaming drivel. Unsportsmanlike behavior. The last match I watched with S. Williams she had to pull her thong out of her Butt crack 152 times. The announcers were astounded this kind of crap is even tolerated

  28. Masha’s boyfriend said she ain’t too loud…
    …when gets banged,,,
    lol

  29. As several above have noted, I used to be a WTA aficionado who dreamed of attending a major tourney. No more. Sharapova and Azarinka and the Williams sisters are obnoxious. They need to be warned, penalized, and then defaulted if such rudeness, designed only to intimidate opponents, continues. Tournaments should risk some $ to lay down this law. As Jelena Jankovic (who is a quiet player) noted a year or so ago, the screamers do not scream when they hit hard balls in practice – proof that screaming is unrelated to hitting the ball well. We wonder why none of the announcers on NBC and ESPN criticize such absurd behavior. Who has told them to be quiet. And they are ALL quiet on the subject. Come on tennis lovers. Let’s stop this rude, poor sports person ship, ASAP

  30. OK, Tennis Noise, let’s not only get on the bandwagon to ban excess grunting on court, but it is obviously time to fine the $#@$%#%$@#%^%$^$
    out of Serena Williams. After being placed on probation two years ago for threatening the life of a linesperson, today, in losing royally to Sam Stosur, she became totally abusive of the referee, repeatedly berating her and, coming incredibly close to threatening her. This woman whose parents never taught her to be magnanimous in victory or gracious in defeat, should be suspended from Grand Slam events for one year.

  31. Ross Hargreaves

    While the WTA chief executive holds the view that it’s OK – “it’s the way they are trained” – “it’s this generations way” – it’s maybe the enhanced digital sound making it an issue” – ” I’ve never had a player complain to me” – “only some spectators find it annoying” etc etc then don’t expect the WTA to take the lead on this issue.
    WTA should have taken a stand against this years ago when they were warned that it would damage womens tennis. They are in denial on this issue and gutless, I suggest that they check the flood of compaints in the media and act now.
    This screaming and moaning is not involuntary as some claim. It is done on purpose to unsettle the opponent and gain an unfair advantage by masking the manner in which the ball is struck ,it IS a form of cheating and we the paying spectators recognise this and want it stopped.

  32. Some of these players sound like they are ABOUT TO GIVE BIRTH – ON A TENNIS COURT!

  33. You are all missing the point! Screaming momentarily “freezes” one’s oponent. Ask any black-belt karate. Obviously. it should be banned outright.

    JS

  34. It is cheating, 100% cheating. If a player yells, screeches, grunts whatever you want to call it, then their tennis game (game-set-match) is forfeited straight away on the very first grunt (whatever you want to call it). No exceptions. Hang them high & get rid off all these cheaters. Who cares if they are the most beautiful looking or have the biggest sponsorship deal. Automatic forfeit, even if they are leading 6-0 6-0 5-0 40-0 (match point) in a grand slam. No exceptions.
    To then put the cherry on top of the cream, also place an automatic 2 or 5 or 10 year ban from the game would really hang them out to dry, emotionally, financially etc etc. That will shake the game up big time. The grunts will stop straight away. You can bet your sweet **** on it.

    And like what happened to on January 21, 1990, at the Australian Open in Melbourne, American tennis player John McEnroe became the first player since 1963 to be disqualified from a Grand Slam tournament for misconduct.

    Here we are 22 years on from that event and the world screams out (pardon the pun) for the impotent, useless & incompetent tennis officials to BAN the shriekers and other cheaters from the game of tennis.

  35. stop the screaming and grunting immediately, its hideous and sooo un-necessary, the greats of the game were a pleasure to watch, today its become a j0ke and no penalties, can’t believe it………sharapova and azarenka Iwill not watch you along with thousands of other tennis fans, . liz

  36. I think it is rude and disrespectful to your opponent and very distracting! I think it ought to be banned.

  37. This Australian Open i’ve noticed again with Sharapova doing her Screaming & grunting. Tennis needs to ban these ladies and men from doing this!! It’s so annoying and is a total distraction. It’s totally cheating with their Screaming & grunting. The men aren’t near as loud but they still do it but not near as much as the women. Hopefully come the U.S. Open they will BAN players from Screaming & grunting.

  38. ‘Shrieking, screaming’ at damaging db are aggressive and distracting tactics that should be banned from events; with stringent penalties imposed. This is destroying the nature of woman’s single events and diminishing the pleasure of watching these magnificent events. Disappointed that the finals here in Melbourne are going to be marred by this outrageous phenomenon!!!!!

  39. Reactionary Racket

    Someone suggested above that warnings, points deductions, (or points addition for the intended victim), should do the trick.
    Nonsense…weak kneed liberalism !
    Instant disqualification from the game and subsequent tournaments for the offenders…and don’t forget that behind every last one of these cheats is a coach who clearly approves of the tactic. Instant removal of their coaching license/qualification should be automatic, by extension.
    Time to get tough with these annoying fraudsters and get a bit of decorum back into the game…no excuses, no apologies, no second chances.
    ONE strike and they’re out – permanently !!

  40. Reactionary Racket

    While we’re all waiting for the liberal authorites to do something about it, how about a new variation on the game, where audience participation is a requirement for occupying a seat at the match ?
    Works like this…every time the Sharapova’s et al are about to serve, the audience gets to squawk, shreik and squeal.
    The loudest tier of seating gets free refreshments and vouchers for the pub after the match, with extra beer tokens issued if the tier’s efforts managed to put Sharapova and her likes off their games
    Obviously some technology would be needed here, in order to equate the number of decibels achieved with effective distance from the offending player’s ears.
    Siemens, I would suggest, would be the perfect technology sponsor

    Somehow, I dont think the idea will catch on with WTA, but since they obviously dont want to listen to the opinions of the legions of tennis fans who have been demanding that action be taken to remove the likes of Sharapova, then it’s high time that we did the job ourselves,
    More than one way to skin a cat…..anyone for Tennis ???

  41. Daniel Spector

    Azarenka sounds like a hyena… and her… whatever they are… often last so long they are still ringing when her opponent hits the ball. It’s a ridiculous joke that Mardy Fish yells once and is penalized a point… or that Maria Karilenko taps her racket on the court three times and is penalized a point… the list can go on and on, and yet the hyena shrieks on and on and no one says a THING?

  42. I wish these cows would STFU! I have to turn the sound down during the French open finals between these 2 cows!

  43. It’s all just to distract the other players ability to hear the ball off the strings and to make them think they are hitting it hard. They even grunt and scream when they hit drop shots. Now go walk by the practice courts, all those grunters and screamers are doing it while they practice. I do turn the volume down because a cant stand listening to it, but it would be nice to hear the commentators.

  44. Sorry, are NOT doing it while practicing.

  45. Peter M. Arel

    Screaming should be banned in women’s tennis-PERIOD! A BOYCOTT BY THE FANS IS NEEDED TO FORCE THE WTA-AND OTHER TENNIS ORGANIZATIONS TO ACT. IF THEY FIND OUT THAT WOMEN’S TENNIS IS LOSING POPULARITY BECAUSE OF THE PLAYERS’ SCREAMING AND THEIR OWN NONFEASANCE-AND ALSO
    LOSING MONEY AND TELEVISION RATINGS THEY’LL BE FORCED TO ACT!

  46. Peter M. Arel

    The spineless WTA WON’T ACT BECAUSE THEY’RE AFRAID OF LOSING MONEY AS A RESULT OF DEFAULTING A PLAYER FOR SCREAMING. THE FANS SHOULD BOYCOTT THE WTA AND WOMEN’S TENNIS UNTIL TV RATINGS FOR THE MATCHES NOSEDIVE AND TENNIS LOSES MONEY;WALKING OUT ON
    THE PLAYERS WHO ARE THE WORST OFFENDERS IS A GOOD
    WAY FOR FANS TO SHOW THAT THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE
    IN THE WORLD WHO ARE PUT OFF BY THE SCREAMING.

  47. Peter M. Arel

    DEFAULT SHOULD BE USED IN AN ARBITRARY AND HIGH-HANDED MANNER TO DISCOURAGE GAMESMANSHIP IN
    PROFESSIONAL TENNIS, ESPECIALLY WOMEN’S TENNIS!
    BOYCOTTING WOMEN’S TENNIS BY KEEPING TELEVISION SETS
    TUNED TO SOMETHING OTHER THAN VICTORIA AZARENKA’S MATCHES AND WALKING OUT ON MATCHES WHERE THERE IS EXCESSIVE SCREAMING WILL COST THE WTA MONEY AND TELEVISION RATINGS(AND SPONSORS), FORCING WTA OFFICIALS
    TO ACT!

  48. Peter M. Arel

    A television ratings nosedive would teach everybody in women’s tennis a lesson and force the WTA to put a stop to screaming by female tennis players!They would lose money(which they would deserve);they would also lose sponsors for the matches;fans walking out of stadiums after hearing the shrieking would send the strongest
    message of all:WE LIKE OUR TENNIS WITH PEACE AND QUIET!

  49. I have just noticed that Francesca Schiavone sort of screams AND grunts at each and every service, even the slowest ones.

    I think after a while it becomes an unconscious habit of sort. But seriously, it IS annoying. I enjoy the commentaries, but these screams are really annoying.

    I have played tennis and yes, when I had to really reach out, I occasionally let out a “hhhhuuuuuhhhh” sound, but it wasn’t loud and it wasn’t consistent at every single shot.

    I remember Munster used to moan/grunt at EVERY SINGLE BLOODY SHOT!!!! even the softest, easiest ones not requiring any extraordinary strength.

    Players in the past used to win amazing matches with amazing shots… quietly.

    Persistent screaming/moaning/grunting is annoying, vulgar and unnecessary.

    It should be banned.

    Period.

  50. I have stopped watching Sharapova’s matches. The screams are JUST TOO MUCH.

  51. Peter M. Arel

    And I’m one of those fans who like peace and quiet during a
    tennis match;and to find the SCREAMERS AND GRUNTERS GONE!
    THE WOMEN’S GAME HAS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF INCIDENTS AND IT IS THE MATCHES BETWEEN AZARENKA AND SHARAPOVA
    THAT SHOULD BE BOYCOTTED UNTIL THE WTA IS FORCED BY THE LOSS OF MONEY AND SPONSORS TO ACT! MAKE THE WTA PAY DEARLY FOR ITS NONFEASANCE BY BOYCOTTING ALL WTA-SANCTIONED MATCHES(EVEN ON TELEVISION)!

  52. WTA’s NONFEASANCE SHOULD BE MADE TO PROVE TEN TIMES AS COSTLY AS PUNISHING A TENNIS PLAYER FOR THE UNSEEMLY SCREAMING THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING ALLOWED TO GO UNCHECKED. AN EMPTY STADIUM IS NEEDED(AND SO ARE NOSEDIVING TV RATINGS) IN ORDER TO FORCE THE WTA TO DO ITS JOB!

  53. Peter M. Arel

    @Cow Hater-Use the CHANNEL SELECTOR ON YOUR REMOTE
    INSTEAD! IF MORE TENNIS FANS WHO LIKE THEIR TENNIS
    WITH PEACE AND QUIET WOULD CHANGE THE CHANNEL TO SOMETHING OTHER THAN AZARENKA’S (OR SHARAPOVA’S )TENNIS MATCHES THE WTA WOULD BE FORCED TO TAKE ACTION!

  54. WOW! I am so happy that I might start watching Women’s Tennis again. I always thought, that if you didn’t see what was going on, you’d wonder if you were watching tennis or a PORNO film!
    The best players don’t shriek. It’s INTENTIONAL disguising of the sound of the ball, and it is annoying as chalk on a blackboard! I’m so glad it will finally end!

  55. Peter Collins

    Sharapove’s shrieks and screams should result in her opponent getting a game awarded to them, each time she does it. She’ll stop it then..

    Oh and what about the lack of consideration of the paying fans who could go deaf cos of Sharapova? I suppose a good idea would be to have her opponents be given ear defenders just before they go out on court. That’ll give the message to Sharapova and the other’s who scream.. Also the paying fans should also be handed ear defenders too.

  56. All the screamers should be severely penalized! It’s totally unfair to their opponents and a serious distraction to the fans. People pay good money to see good tennis … not to hear these babes scream! I’m disgusted that it is taking the ‘associations’ so bloody long to implement this ban!

  57. I have played and watched competitive tennis for over 40 years. I refuse to watch s match with players like Sharapova. Something really needs to be done!!

  58. Have to turn the sound down on women’s games that drive me to distraction…I would complain the the umpire…if the crowd has to maintain silence then the players must abide by rules of etiquette as well.

  59. Sharapova needs to stop grunting. It’s really annoying to hear that with every single shot.

  60. I love watching tennis but when the screamers are playing I turn the match off. There is no excuse for that kind of rude and obnoxious behavior.

  61. I’ve stopped watching pro tennis because of the screaming. Husband still watches and I have noticed this year there doesn’t seem to be the screaming at Wimbledon. Am I missing something? Just not catching the screaming matches? Have officials clamped down on it?

  62. It verbal distrction over extended period. If you dance or sing you under stand rythm. She is controling the rythm of the game, not with strokes or pace but but by audible control. Length, octave and timing. she holds them for different amounts of time, thus controling the opponents reaction. In fact altering the beat of the game. It unsportsman like. What if a MLB pitcher started yelling after each pitch. A change up loud and long curve short and quick… you get the picture.

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