I was only complaining the other day about how off putting I found female tennis players who grunt. It appears that the powers-that-be were listening, as a story in today's papers reads that decibel readers, or grunt-o-metres, are to be introduced at Wimbledon.
The loudest ever grunt from a female tennis player at Wimbledon registered in at just over 100 decibels. That is the equivalent of standing just three feet away from an active chainsaw in terms of noise level.
I have always found the level of grunting from tennis players, particularly female tennis players, off putting and it looks like I am not alone.
In a bid to reduce 'gruntage', umpires are soon to be armed with decibel readers which will register the volume of player's grunts. If they come above the acceptable level, the player will be forced to replay the point.
This grunting business is far more common amongst the female players. Amongst men it doesn't seem to be so prevalent. One theory is the women are doing this to try and put off their opponent. Well it's certainly putting me off. I end up watching far more male Wimbledon matches than female as a result.
Therefore this grunt-o-metre is a godsend of an idea for people like me. I find the 'grunt', 'grunt', 'grunt', 'grunt' as the ball goes back and forth highly irritating. It's the equivalent of nails down a blackboard.
Sometimes these grunts are more like screams. You feel like asking, “is she all right?”
I'm sure I read a couple of years ago that some scientific bods had looked into this grunting and found that the grunt in no way enhanced the performance of a tennis player.
If anything is just used up extra energy. So therefore it is completely unnecessary. I knew it.
And this leads us neatly back to the theory players are doing it to put off their opponents. That or it has become entrenched in their playing style. Well in that case they are just going to have to break the habit.
The grunt-o-metre is an excellent idea – by the way I don't thing that is its technical name.
But isn't it all so very civilised and typical of Wimbledon introducing a decibel reader to deal with the problem.
I think it would be entirely acceptable for the umpire to just call out, “Oh shut up”.