Dampen Down The Damsel’s Decibels In Tennis

Like so many other societal failings these days, the WTA, for whatever ungodly reason, has allowed the Women’s Tennis Tour to become a hootin’, howlin’, cat fight. While this screech-fest is going on, the fans, locked in their seats, are committed to absolute silence. Heaven forbid a child should cut loose – they would be forced to remove the annoyance post haste.

Because the WTA has not had the chutzpah to step in and regulate this decibel debacle, we, the tennis devotees, are instead subjected to an unparalleled symphony of who-gotcha howling.  Since it is deliberately orchestrated, it becomes necessary for the ladies to develop their own unique shriek – something with a ring to it – maybe a double yowl to cover up the tell-tale sound of the ball leaving their strings that might signal the type of shot. If they should flub the screech, is that like a blink in poker?

These damsels, appearing in teeny tiny tennis tutus, belie the ferocity that burns in their barely covered bosoms and  bottoms to smash, crash, and annihilate the little yellow fuzzies.  Now that this piquing contest has been allowed to escalate, some have added double crescendos to their repertoire, i.e., Hantekova of Russia with her Hey-yah!  Where do they practice their hoots? Do they have a howl coach?

I openly confess to having prayed for about of incurable laryngitis to hit the locker-rooms.  Nothing life threatening, just painful – like our ears. As I remember, Navratilova, Stephi, and Davenport, had no need to bellow. They just won all those titles by focusing on strokes – not shrieks.

As Sharipova’s career diminishes, her screech escalates.  Protect your eardrums when her game goes to hell in a ball basket.  Her freneticism is scary!  I find myself relieved when she loses – taking her designer tutu, haughty expression, her pony tail and puppy back to the airport. Sad commentary actually. Not like watching basketball where you can lower the TV and turn on the radio to hear the game. Don’t get me started on basketball!  Might we ever use clackers, horns, and whistles at tennis matches? We should have the right to express ourselves.

Grunting has spread to the ATP men’s tour now but at least those few who do grunt don’t rattle my nerve endings.  More of a mellow bellow.

Bottom line here.  My email, license plate, and moniker is Tennis Buff.  I play, watch, tape & DVR, photograph, and attend everything.  I even pay big bucks for the Tennis Channel.  In the 70’s, I was a paper cup away from Arthur Ashe at the U.S. Open at Longwood Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. He would never dream of grunting, even if he fell over the ball boys. Oh, such class!  I even saw a curly haired kid named McEnroe at 18 beat up someone on a hot Wednesday afternoon with nary a gasp.

I myself play with a Wilson Carbon Hyper-Hammer wide-body with enough power to punch a hole in the green court screens.  I started with a small wooden Slazenger bought from my Aussie tennis coach. My elevation to the Hyper-Hammer is testament to my continued involvement in the game. Having lived through the modernization of this grand ol’ lawn game, it is a joy to see the women’s game come alive with these super racquets. They have the power to intimidate, so they don’t need the sound effects. These racquets give them voice enough.  Are we more likely to watch because the women have decided to screech?
I don’t think so!

I no longer wake up at 2:00am here on the West Coast to watch women’s tennis LIVE from the European tourneys. With
one eye open, I don’t want to listen to bellows of power emanating from my giant stereo TV system in the bedroom.  Not in the middle of the night. I do waken to watch the men’s matches.

I don’t watch women’s tennis much anymore.  Sad.  They could have stopped it way back when Monica Seles started grunting. They did try to stop her, but backed down. Mustn’t offend the prima donnas.  Tough luck for the fans.

The most we can hope for at this stage of the game is that the tennis associations will at least attempt to curb the annoyance.  It may be too late to abolish something they have already allowed to permeate the game.  Like gun control, illegal immigration, and grunting, by the time they legislate it, everyone will have amassed an arsenal – of guns, green cards, grunts, groans, and bellows.      Pat Dugas.

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