Grunting in Tennis: Damned if You Do
"I am sorry but Jovana [Jaksic] should be banned from the WTA. I have NEVER heard such loud, disruptive shrieking in my life! She makes Vika [Victoria Azarenka] sound like she has taken a vow of silence. I felt so sorry for Kimiko [Date-Krumm] having to play against her. Wimbledon will never accept her decibels!"—"MichaelDreher", in a comment section.
A funny thing coincided with our Tennis Tuesday "Let It Out" audio feature about the many varied grunts in the pro game. Hardly "ha, ha" funny, but rather "oh, this again" funny. A mini-hubbub broke out in the comment section of my previous post about Andrea Petkovic and Jovana Jaksic's dancing during their respective tournament runs in Charleston and Monterrey.
Despite Jaksic's fan-pleasing, just-try-not-to-like-it dancing, fans took issue with the noise she makes as she slaps her groundstrokes. One commenter, MagicVilas, went so far as to say that WTA and tournament leaders "should put shock collars on all of them" who utter midpoint shrieks.
What apparently matters is that fans saw more of Jaksic in action than they ever had before in a WTA event. Indeed, with more screen time comes more scrutiny (and Date-Krumm, at a sympathetic 43 years young, could of course be Jaksic's mother). Add to that the fact that Jaksic doesn't actually hit as hard as, say, Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova. (Then again, who does?)
Turns out Date-Krumm handled Jaksic's shrieks with aplomb, as she does most everything. She was done in, quite frankly, by dumping her own shots halfway up the net late in their three-set semifinal contest.
Other pros would do well to focus on the state of their own games (a.k.a. not imploding), and fans might try to tune out the noise. It can be done: I tuned out trains roaring by my home nightly while growing up. Even now, I ignore traffic—gunned engines, revved motorcycles, and such—outside my home, as well as dogs that can be counted on to that bark every morn. One can train the self to similarly deflect human sounds.
But here we are, again discussing grunting in the game, and this time the names of 26-year-old Sharapova and 24-year-old Azarenka aren't being bandied about. It's a 20-year-old in our sights. Suffice it to say, the issue isn't going away anytime soon. You might want to get used to it.
What do you think of Jaksic's noise? Should she be warned by umpires? Should everyone involved—foes, fans, officials—just acquiesce to the facts that are quite literally on the ground?
Got a thought, a tip, or a point to make? Hit me on Twitter at @jonscott9.