I really enjoy the tennis! I remember when tennis players could only wear white. When a flash of frilled knickers was a dreadfully outlandish crime, and punishable too; a flash of colour was breaking the rules, and the men wore nice white shorts with a crease and shirts without vibrant logos.
Compared to today, as the audience settles there might be an odd cough, then a command “Silence please” as the players begin, they come out wearing pink or orange or black and although it is different and I have no issue with that — fashions have to change — something I wish I could change is the sounds from the players on court as they carry out a match.
The noises are almost orgasmic, the grunts and squeals they feel compelled to emit on the tennis courts today have become a really upsetting. I was watching the French Open recently, and while I know Paris is the city of love, I doubt this is the way the country wishes to represent it. Some players seem unable to hit the ball without a full volume shriek! Whatever happened to the nice gentle sound of the ball hitting the racket? Whatever happened to the enforcement of the rules, because even if the audience is quiet the players are not? It seems as though the players want to outdo each other with louder and and louder noises. It surely has to stop. It’s distracting from what is an otherwise enjoyable game to watch.
I read somewhere once that Maria Sharapova’s grunts were measured at 101 decibels, which puts it in the league of a jet taking off. It’s not just the women either, men’s professional such as Rafael Nadal regularly grunt; Andre Agassi even got into trouble with one of his opponents in the ’80s for the noise he made on court.
I would love the umpires to start showing some strength by telling the offending player/s to keep it down. I know, I can turn the sound off, but then I lose the commentary. There is an alternative in that I can put on the ‘captions’ — that would be fun, having the interpretation of the screams and grunts in written form! Or they could turn the sound down low on the microphones. After all in the ‘good old days’ we didn’t have all this full-throated venting. Tennis was enjoyed for the actions not the noises. For the skill and speed and real talent. Anyone can yell and scream, that really just shows a lack of control, and shows no regard for the audience.
Rules need to be brought in where sound that is continual and done as ‘gamesmanship’ to put the opponent off should be banned and players fined. Players making continual grunts and screams should be sent from the court. If players in past years played such brilliant tennis without letting rip with noise that has become a turn off, then it is time for the fashion to be stomped on before it just becomes a killer of a brilliant game.
As someone watching at home, I find it really annoying. If a ban on this excessive sound was brought in for all the big tennis tournaments the spoiled stars would soon become a little quieter. Nothing like hitting them in the pocket.