WTA to develop device to measure grunting
USA Today reports that the WTA has come to an agreement with the Grand Slams and the ITF to develop a handheld device to objectively measure on-court grunting levels—"a kind of Hawk-Eye for noise."
"It's time for us to drive excessive grunting out of the game for future generations," WTA CEO Stacey Allaster said.
The sport is aiming to establish a new rule that sets acceptable and unacceptable noise levels based on data gathering and analysis. However, Allaster refused to call it a "grunt-o-meter," which was the term used for a device used by some British tabloid newspapers during Monica Seles' run to the Wimbledon final in 1992.
"I'm not going to use that word," said Allaster. "The bottom line is that we want to bring forward across all levels of competition an objective rule through use of technology to make it much easier for athletes and chair umpires."
The WTA consulted experts in the field of sports science, as well as coaches and players, including the Williams sisters. Allaster said that current generation of players will not be affected by the plan.
"What is clear from experts is that it would have a clear, damaging effect on performance of the existing generation," Allaster said. "It's going to take some time. I don't want to get ahead of ourselves because it's a collective effort of the sport and we need everyone to buy in."
Allaster said that the current hindrance rule is too subjective. "What is too loud? What is too long? We need to give the official an objective measurement tool. Can you imagine on a critical point an umpire going, 'Oh, I thought you were too loud.' You have to take all of that out of the equation. It's not fair to athletes, the chair or the sport."