The Women’s Tennis Association has revealed that they will begin experimenting with on-court measuring equipment and audio tests to attempt to eliminate excessive grunting from the WTA tour. The decision came following the (apparently) consistent negative feedback from fans and media alike over players such as Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
“We have begun to do the audio testing, and we have begun it in this quarter of 2013,” Allaster said at the WTA Championships.”There is more data to be done, there’s more assessment to be done on the different audible levels. There are a variety of different environments that you need to assess the audible levels — indoor buildings, outdoor buildings, small venues, different surfaces, etc.”
Allaster stated that the WTA has joined with an unnamed research firm with expertise in urban noise levels to help with the gathering of data for their testing. The aim is to correlate the data and attempt to see if there is a relation between harder shots and louder grunts and attempt to curb its affects for future generations.
“We are committed to the strategy to drive excessive grunting out of the game and we believe it’s through the next generation.”
The idea first appeared at the the 2012 Wimbledon, where tournament officials revealed a structured plan that aimed at curbing noise levels using technology, rule changes and education. This apparently included a possible “grunt-o-meter” device for umpires to use during matches.
“We are now moving into more of the data and the scientific stream to see where we net out on it,”
It will be interesting to see how this concept develops and whether the competitors on the tour are open and receptive to the idea. This will likely cause tension with players like Victoria Azarenka, who has openly stated that men do not get blamed for their grunting, and other top stars who have are notorious ‘grunters’.