Topic: Is it fair to ask Larcher de Brito to stop grunting?

They are asking Michelle Larcher de Brito to tone down her sound effects when playing:

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis … SHeadlines

She did it in the first round but says she will resume grunting when the matches get tougher. I think it is unfair to ask her to change her behavior. If she is focusing on her noises instead of her shots it is bound to affect her performance. I think a professional tennis player should not be so easily distracted by grunts from the opponent, unless they are made deliberately to create a distraction, which Michelle is not doing. I'm glad she is standing up for herself.

Other thoughts?

Re: Is it fair to ask Larcher de Brito to stop grunting?

I think a fair amount of grunting and noise-making is acceptable, but it's at a ridiculous level with de Brito. She spends so long making the noise that by the time she has finished she has to start a new one for the next shot. It's wall to wall screeching and it's surely offputting.

The reason they concentrate on her particularly is that she may be breaking a rule; it's excessive noise, because it is so loud, but it is also the length of her noise. If it goes into the shot of the next player then technically it's a form of hceating; it's like having someone screeching at you as you are going for a shot.

And if another player like Ivanovic, who was comfortably beating her and is a more skilled and experienced player, complained to the umpire about it then there must be some sense in asking her to stop.

Im not saying that grunting overall should be stopped, as I know personally when playing tennis and you're trying to reach a backhand it is natural. or you just happen to be putting some wollop into the swing. And I dont agree that people should take some sort of offence at this sort of general, exertion-grunting, because tennis is naturally a quiet spectator sport so naturally everyone would here, not like football or rugby etc where no-one can hear the sounds they are making.
It is just the nature of hte sport of tennis, and it needs to be dealt with an even hand rather than an outright ban or letting people like de Brito take it too far.

Re: Is it fair to ask Larcher de Brito to stop grunting?

I think that if there is any sound from a player while the ball is in the opponent's court, the umpire should call the point against the noisemaker.
I have heard other people say there should be no sound when a player is striking the ball, but I would make it easier on the umpire by letting him judge whether there is sound as the ball passes the net in front of him.

I wish some player would have the guts to invent a completely ridiculous grunt and use it loudly against Larcher, just to see what the umpire would do.

Last edited by buddyholly (Jun. 24, 2009 4:51pm)

Re: Is it fair to ask Larcher de Brito to stop grunting?

As a fan watching the game it is annoying to hear those loud grunts. How is it that Steffi Graf can win 22 majors without grunting?

Here is an interesting post on the Wimbledon blog about it:
http://blog.wimbledon.org/2009/06/04/434/

Martina Navratilova believes that it is cheating and has become unacceptable, and I totally agree with her.

Re: Is it fair to ask Larcher de Brito to stop grunting?

100% unacceptable. She won her match in straight sets without grunting, so it's obviously not done out of effort put into shots. This is the quote right here that tells me she is using the grunting simply to try and rattle her opponent," Definitely if the matches are going to be tougher, obviously I'm going to start grunting." Personally, if I am a player facing her I would do anything in my power to return the favor. I would take as much time as possible on serves (maybe even give her a quickie serve if she had her hand up), changeovers, call for the trainer when it's not necessary, take bathroom breaks, anything. It really is just something used to gain an advantage over another player, and it's sad to see, especially at Wimbledon.

In her defense, the only thing I could say is that she is clearly being singled out. Other women do this as well, most notably Maria Sharapova. Here is an interesting little video of some points from Sharapova and de Brito. Clearly they are both obnoxiously loud and highly unnecessary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVfCcBzM … re=related

I think the WTA needs to step up and do something about it. Really the only two guys who I can think of that do anything like this are Nadal and Ferrer. Those guys go all out every point, so it is very understandable. Even so, it is nowhere near the level of Sharapova and de Brito. Since it clearly is just a tactic used to gain an advantage over an opponent, I think there should be a certain noise level that is tolerated. With today's technology maybe there is a device that a chair umpire could have on them that would beep or something once a certain noise level has been reached, and that device could be turned off an on between points. Women's tennis is basically unwatchable for me, and this is definitely the biggest reason.

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Re: Is it fair to ask Larcher de Brito to stop grunting?

Great video Aiur, thanks. It seem that the main difference between those two women is the length of the sound. Larcher de Brito's sound lasts so long that she is still screaming when the opponent is trying to hit the ball back. This would be so distracting. That said, sharapova's is pretty bad as well.

Re: Is it fair to ask Larcher de Brito to stop grunting?

I really hope that she gets to the semi-finals and grunts and squeals her way through a match on center court. I wonder how the fans will react. That will be very entertaining.

Re: Is it fair to ask Larcher de Brito to stop grunting?

MagooTennis wrote:

I really hope that she gets to the semi-finals and grunts and squeals her way through a match on center court. I wonder how the fans will react. That will be very entertaining.

Lol - that would be a great sight. Too bad she's out of the tournament so soon.