Grunting On Men's Side Of Tennis Garnering Attention After Andy Murray's Complaints
Grunting in tennis has "become increasingly voluminous on the men's side," and the sounds "reached a guttural crescendo" on Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Open fourth-round matchup between Andy Murray and Carlos Berlocq, according to Ben Rothenberg of the N.Y. TIMES. Murray "complained about Berlocq’s loud, hoarse grunting, which had started several games into the match after an initially quiet start." Many of the top players on the men's side of the game can "be loud grunters depending on the intensity of the moment." But a few lesser-known players, such as Berlocq and Marcel Granollers, are "louder, more abrasive grunters." Their "relative anonymity compared to the famously loud women, such as Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, has contributed to the perception that this is a problem only in women’s tennis, with the WTA even developing plans to nip grunters in the bud ... at the junior level." The ATP has "made no similar efforts, and no top male players have lodged major complaints as some women’s players have -- until Murray did." Murray regarding complaints by Berlocq that he was taking too long between points said, "If I’m going to be supposedly taking too long between points on one or two points, then grunting that loud for that long is like an extended grunt as well. It’s still making a noise when you’re hitting the ball. It’s annoying." Berlocq said, "I didn’t know that it bothered him. It’s something that always came naturally to me all my life, so I cannot change that." Murray responded to that comment with a chuckle by saying, "Yeah, but that's what all of the real grunters say." Sharapova said that she "didn’t think the men speaking up about grunting would change the debate significantly" (NYTIMES.com, 3/14).
HEAVY HITTERS: In L.A., Bill Dwyre reports there "was a crowd of 16,100 -- maybe more if they squeezed over a seat or two" -- at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Thursday for Rafael Nadal's quarterfinal win over Roger Federer. When the match began shortly before 7:00pm PT, there "were perhaps 100 empty seats scattered about." By the first player changeover at 2-1, the "stragglers had arrived." The match was "only the fifth time they had played each other in the United States" (L.A. TIMES, 3/15). TENNIS.com's Peter Bodo wrote while many call for a fifth major, fans "already have one" in the Indian Wells event. The tournament "may not meet all the requirements of a major, but every one of those shortcomings (beginning with the 10-day format and the byes in the draw) are an easy fix." The main stadium is the "second largest dedicated tennis stadium in the world." The site "covers over 50 acres, and the tournament this year is sure to surpass its attendance record of 370,000." Meanwhile, tournament Owner Larry Ellison is "utterly dedicated to continuing the spectacular growth rate established by the original owners of the event" (TENNIS.com, 3/14).