Mike, an NTRP rated 4.0 (and Carolyn’s husband!) is here to talk about whether or not it’s okay to grunt or not to grunt during a USTA match.

Carolyn faced an opponent recently that grunted when she hit every single shot — no matter how easy or hard the shot was. She even grunted when she lobbed a soft ball into the air! The most annoying part of the match was the long grunt. Carolyn was a bit put off by all the grunting, so she proposed this episode “To Grunt or Not to Grunt – That is the Question!”

Carolyn asked Erin and Mike their opinions and how they feel about when opponents grunt when playing.

What Does Mike Have to Say?

Mike says he thinks that there’s a wide range of grunting. Some people grunt on every single point (like Carolyn’s recent opponent), some never make a sound at all, and most people fall somewhere in the middle — they grunt or make a noise once in a while. Mike said he typically grunts or makes a sound when he’s hitting a hard shot or going for a winner.

How about Erin?

Erin’s opinion is right in line with Mike’s. There are lots of pros tennis players that grunt loudly like Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, and Serena Williams. Erin watches a lot of pro tennis matches and has noticed that many of the commentators really dislike grunting. Erin understands that you can exert yourself in adult recreational tennis but questions whether any of us are good enough to grunt loudly enough to actually make a difference in our tennis games.

Friend At Court Rule about Grunting

Carolyn mostly faces loud grunters in singles matches. She says sometimes she feels like it could be considered a hinderance so she looked up the rule. Carolyn references the Friend At Court Handbook of Rules and Regulations and found the follow:

On page 42, #37 of the code it says “A player should avoid grunting and making other loud noises. Grunting and other loud noises may bother not only players, but players on adjacent courts. In extreme cases, an opponent or a player on an adjacent court may seek the assistance of an official. Grunting and the making of loud noises that effect the outcome of a point is a hinderance but only an official can rule that these actions are hinderance in order that a let be played or the loss of a point depending on whether an official had previously warned the offending player.” So basically, what Carolyn has determined is that there is no rule.

Does Grunting Help?

Carolyn found an article from the Guardian written in 2018 that says it can help! In fact, the article states “…grunting could be considered performance-enhancing for the grunter and performance-hindering for their opponent.”

The article goes on to say “When the impact of a grunt is investigated, there is evidence that hitting performance is enhanced. Skilled university tennis players were found to hit with a 3.8% increase in groundstroke hitting velocity when they grunted.

For a serve, a 4.9% enhancement in velocity was found among players who grunted.”

Conclusion: Adult Recreation Players Should Be Grunting!

What Carolyn, Mike and Erin figured out by the end of the episode is that Carolyn shouldn’t be annoyed at opponents that grunt—she should join them and learn to do it herself in order to help her tennis game.

We hope you enjoyed this episode! Mike has been on the podcast on several other popular topics like: