Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wimbledon is coming: So please be quiet!

Wimbledon starts tomorrow and the big news, rivalling the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal, is how loud it is going to be--more specifically how loud Michelle Larcher de Brito is going to be.
Check out One Sport Voice for a recent post on the gendered nature of the grunting controversy. Yesterday's Boston Globe also highlights the grunting on the women's tennis tour. But they do mention the men.
I don't know about all this. The tradition argument that Martina Navratilova is putting forth is little, well, hypocritical as the Globe hints at. After all, Navratilova was quite the non-traditional presence on the tour when she arrived and throughout much of her playing time. And sure, I like the quiet of Wimbledon, too. But I liked the crowd quiet. I don't really care what the players are doing. I heard de Brito from a court over at the French Open and yes, it was something new. But so was Seles's grunt when she came on the scene.
And the biological arguments are interesting but not entirely convincing.
In the end, the Globe article's mention of grunting on the men's tour and the suggestion that grunting is controversial because it is unladylike really lets the gender double-standard off the hook.
I guess we'll all have to watch Wimbledon and do our own case study and analysis.

1 comment:

Diane said...

Martina's argument is that a scream (not a grunt--grunting is harmless) keeps the opponent from hearing the ball struck. Some players say they are okay with this; some say they do need to hear the ball struck. For those who need to hear it, an opponent's screaming is indeed a problem.

As you know, my problem is with the press, who keep referring to screaming as grunting. There are a few grunters on the women's tour--Safina, for example--and sometimes, after a very long match--almost anyone. Sometimes Nadal is a grunter, as is Nalbandian. Screaming is totally different from grunting, however. No one on the men's tour screams.