Court of Appeals: Stop, Shrieker!
In a USTA 4.0 league doubles match, one of our opponents grunted or shreiked loudly on most of her hits. When we changed ends, I politely asked her to top since this was distracting me. She told me she could make as much noise as she wanted and said I could protest after the match. We won anyway. Was I correct in requesting her to stop? What does one do if the opponent refuses to cooperate or follow the rules when there is no official present?—Sheron Landis, Sacramento, CA
You have raised two separate issues: How do you stop excessive grunting by an opponent, and what do you do when you have no official to resolve disputes? When there is no official present or available, your only recourse is diplomacy. The Code, Item 37, says, "A player should avoid grunting and making other loud noises" (Comment IV, D-16, also addresses the issue). The penalty can be loss of point for a hindrance. So you can ask them to stop, as you did. Unfortunately for you, both cases require an official to impose the penalty. Without access to one, and in the face of an incorrigible grunter, your only recourse would appear to be earplugs.
Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.
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