WTA, ITF's Plan To Silence Grunting Includes Handheld Device And Education At Academies
The WTA has created a “broad plan to help curb excessive noise in the sport” that will include “technology, rule changes and education,” according to Douglas Robson in a special for USA TODAY. The “umbrella scenario" includes the “development of a handheld device for umpires to measure on-court grunting levels.” It also includes a rule “quantifying acceptable and unacceptable noise based on acoustical data gathering and analysis” and “education at large tennis academies, national development programs and all levels of junior and lower-tier professional events.” WTA Chair & CEO Stacey Allaster acknowledges that the plan “will take time to research and implement,” but she “is determined.” Allaster said, “It’s a collective effort of the sport, and we need everyone to buy in” (USA TODAY, 6/26). Robson writes Wimbledon has “long showcased women’s tennis’ best players as well as its noisiest,” which is why the International Tennis Federation and the WTA players council are taking “broader steps to quiet that excess noise.” Allaster said that the WTA “consulted experts in the field of sports science and psychology” in developing the plan. An acoustic consultant “will be hired to conduct tests in various conditions, venues and surfaces to develop a cost-effective instrument for umpires.” The WTA has been “forced to deal with grunting after continued negative fan and news media reaction” (USA TODAY, 6/26).