Foot Fault!

Calling all the lines of professional tennis

Quotable Quotes: Stacey Allaster Discusses The Grunting ‘Issue’

Last month, we saw seemingly more discussion and criticism arise about grunting in tennis than ever before, so much so that WTA CEO Stacey Allaster finally decided to discuss the ‘issue’ during the Rogers Cup in Toronto this week.

“We have a hindrance rule. The reality of it is the athletes themselves are not coming to me say, we have an issue. (But) I’m very fan-centric and if there is a number of fans who are communicating with us that it’s an issue, then it’s something that we need to look at.”

So often when discussing grunting, sceptics use the excuse that the grunting is distracting for the other players. But as Allaster correctly pointed out, that clearly isn’t the case. Firstly, the fistpumping and loud cheering we see from players ranked #1 to #1000 across both tours is undoubtedly so much more effective at distracting and getting inside opponents heads. And secondly, players already know what to expect from certain players as to whether or not they grunt. They should be focusing on themselves regardless of what their opponents are doing, and that’s what they do. Personally, I thinkt the grunting is good and it can often bring just that extra intensity to the surface.

Moreover, it’s no wonder that even in 2011 tennis still has a stigma attached to it of being a snobby country club sport when this is deemed an ‘issue’. People complaining so vigorously about grunting come across as stuck-up and immature themselves. For me, Didier Drogba’s hairstyle is the most offensive thing in sport and he has even outdone himself early in this season by putting it in a ponytail and making himself look even more idiotic, but does that mean I’m going to stop watching football because my eyes are polluted by his hairstyle? In a word, no.

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