WTA addresses grunting issue in meeting
The WTA is considering putting into place measures that may cut down on grunting, the New York Times reports.
In a meeting last weekend in Key Biscayne, the WTA board of directors took up the topic, which according to WTA vice president of communications Andrew Walker, "stemmed from an increase in negative fan reaction to excessive grunting and an increase in media coverage, and we made a determination that the landscape had changed, and we owed it to the fans to take a look at it."
However, Walker told TENNIS.com that the WTA "hasn't developed a detailed plan re: education or rules/rules enforcement."
Some analysts and players have called for chair umpires enforcing the hindrance rule when a player is grunting too loudly.
However, the WTA's two top players and loudest grunters, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, have strongly come out against any measures that would attempt to change their behavior, which puts the WTA in a tricky position as they are dependent on their star players to promote the tour.
The WTA hopes to convince the International Tennis Federation to help educate players at the junior level, as well as work with academies and coaches.
"If junior players start getting docked points for excessive grunting, they won’t care what their role models do," Walker told the Times. "If we get the proper education and enforcement, it will resolve itself."—MC