Can grunting on the court score any love?

Jun 24, 2011

The majority of Wimbledon’s fan mail is about it; there’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to it, although no one can agree on how to characterize it. Grunts? Shrieks? Mating calls? Ian Ritchie, the head of the tennis tournament, has made his wishes clear: he’d like to hear less grunting on the court, particularly from the female contestants. Some have made charges of sexism; others point to a generational divide, claiming it’s only the younger players who do it. Is there a psychological component to it meant to psyche out one’s opponent? Does it actually enhance a player’s performance? Is it distracting? Is it cheating? Patt digs deep in the controversy over…well, we’ll call it grunting.

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