(Photo: Reuters/David Gray)
A tennis grunting ban has long been touted by former players and fans who find the extraordinary loud grunts from certain female players distracting and not part of the game. It now looks like the International Tennis Federation is prepared to do something about it.
The Women's Tennis Association, the International Tennis Federation and all four major tournaments are proposing a new device that can be carried by umpires to measure on-court grunting levels, and decide whether action need to be taken.
However, the proposals would not implement anything on the current generation of grunters, but would impose the restrictions on the coming generations of tennis players.
It has been reported that star women's tennis player Maria Sharapova, who is one of the worst offenders of grunting, has backed proposals to educate players on the problem and to help train them from a younger age how to tone down their grunts.
Sharapova has been famously measured as having a grunt of 101 decibels, which is comparable to a speeding train or a pneumatic drill.
"Bottom line is the right answer has been taken by the tour," Sharapova has said to Reuters.
Speaking from the Pan Pacific in Tokyo she added, "I started grunting since whenever I can remember. I see videos of myself and I've grunted for that long. Nobody told me to do it in Russia or in Florida. It's just a natural habit."
Grunting has been a common issue in women's tennis for years now, but this year the arguments became further amplified after two of the biggest grunters, Maria Sharapova and Belarusian Victoria Azarenka dominated, each winning grand slam titles in 2012.
"The information going towards coaches and academies that are developing talent from a young age is teaching them a certain breathing technique," said Sharapova. "Because when you start something from a young age and continue it, it's a habit - whether you do grunt or don't grunt. The WTA created a plan. That's the smart way to go about it, rather than like taking someone's forehand and grip in the middle of their career and telling them to change it."