Why Do Tennis Players Grunt? The Science Behind It

Everyone wants to stay fit. Some people play sports so that they can have fun while exercising. After all, what better way to do that than playing tennis? It is one of the fun sports out there.

While many aspects of the game are fun, one of the most controversial topics these days is, “why do tennis players grunt?

Athletes grunt and moan all the time during their games. This comes naturally to them. But in many ways, tennis players are notorious for grunting. Some do it more so than the rest. 

It has even become a trademark for some of the players. They simply can’t help but grunt. It has become a part of their identity.

These moans and grunts may seem completely random, but in most cases, these share a significant meaning.

So are you interested to know the reason? Read on to learn: why do tennis players grunt?

Why Do Tennis Players Grunt?

Grunting in tennis comes as naturally as a normal person breathes. Sometimes it is intentional, but most of the time, it is a natural reflex of sorts.

To a normal observer, these sounds come as just random shrieks or screams, but to a player, they are the essence of their very game. 

These are the possible reasons why tennis players may grunt during a match:

Why Do Tennis Players Grunt - Science behind it

1. Grunting keeps a player’s rhythm intact

In a match, to keep up with the opponent, one can never get out of sync. It may seem random, but all the grunts remind the players to exhale and return. It keeps the muscle memory alive and sharp.

In some cases, if a player doesn’t grunt they fall out of rhythm. It results in them losing a point and even the match.

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During extended sessions, a player grunts as if it were natural. They do so to release the extra tension built up. Some players try to silence themselves when doing so, but it affects the rhythm.

2. Grunting helps a player add an extra sound to their shots

A player usually grunts when they return the ball. In this case, they release some extra tension that builds up in the body.

It is a timing mechanism that helps a tennis player return shots fluently. Even quiet players grunt while returning a powerful shot. It is especially loud during power serves.

3. Tennis players are somewhat superstitious

They believe that not grunting during a match will make them lose their power. Not just amateurs, most of the professionals also believe in this. This is a habit that develops from a very young age.

4. Grunting against a silent player gives one somewhat of competitive advantage

First of all, it keeps them from hearing the sound of the ball leaving the string. Extended ones confuse the opponent when they are getting ready to return the ball.

Grunting may be advantageous to most tennis players, but it is also disadvantageous to many other players.

Many players deliberately make grunting noises so that they can put the opponent in a tight spot. It negatively affects the opponent rather than improving the player.

So now you know about the reasons behind the grunts. But let’s step back and think about the legitimacy of the practice. 

Are Tennis Players Allowed To Grunt?

Grunting in tennis is now the norm. A tennis player grunts to both have an advantage and put the opponent at a disadvantage during the match. This proves to be effective in a lot of ways, so much so that there are specific rules built especially for grunting. 

To the normal observer, grunting comes as nothing more than an obscene noise that comes out of the player.

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In most cases, the grunts come as tactical and natural advantages, but it is true that many players exploit this to give the opponent a hard time. So, the tennis federation made some stringent rules surrounding this. 

There are many tournaments and stadiums that outright ban grunting. But most of them allow them to a certain extent.

As the rules state, if a player is put to a disadvantage because of an opponent’s grunts and moans, then the player is automatically awarded a point if caught. 

There have been many cases of this throughout the years. It keeps the players from exploiting grunts as a means to cheat in a match.

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Who Has The Loudest Grunt In Tennis?

Who Has The Loudest Grunt In Tennis

Tennis players consider grunting as something that is as natural as breathing. For many players, it is a part of their existence. They cannot help but grunt. Even many professional players cannot do without grunting in a single match. 

Some players choose to grunt in a dignified way like Rodger Federer. But there are also people who go out of the way to make sure that their noises are heard, like Novak Djokovic.

Players like Victoria Azarenka have a pleasant shriek like a grunt. This doesn’t distract the opponents much but rather helps her keep in rhythm. 

But if we are truly talking about tennis grunts, then no one can beat Maria Sharapova. She has been labeled as the player with the most faults because of grunting.

She regularly reaches 85-90 decibels on the court because of grunting. But her all-time high grunt sound is 100 decibels.

No player comes even close to her. Most players hesitate to go against her grunts. It was labeled as cheating because of her loud grunts.

But she claims that it is to solely help her with her own game, which is vouched for by her managers and fellow players alike.

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I hope this article was able to give you the right answer to the question: why do tennis players grunt?

Essentially, it is a part of their identity. Grunting helps them have a clear game and give their very best. It is the best way tennis players can express themselves.

Some players try their best to keep the noise down as much as they can. But for many players, embrace it as a part of themselves and go on grunting happily.

Which type of tennis player are you? Let me know in the comments section below.

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