Turn your volume down if you're watching women's tennis this week-end. Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka have played three times this year and each time, after a few games I felt the need to turn my volume down. Nothing was worse than Friday in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York during the US Open Semi-final match which Azarenka won 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. They out-dueled each other not only in strokes but shrieks, with the third set unbelievably loudest of all. Both could rival rush hour on Wall Street or a 757 landing at LaGuardia Airport. Can you imagine the resounding sound in Ashe Stadium?
This brings up an on-going issue of grunting in women's tennis. It was so bad in the Australian Open by the two aforementioned players that it re-opened an issue that had died out since the days of Monica Seles in the 90's.
In January the WTA stated that, "We are currently in the process of exploring how to reduce excessive grunting, especially for younger players just starting out, without adversely affecting players who have developed their game under the current training, rules and procedures...We do believe that we need to address the concerns expressed by some fans and take a careful look at our rules and education policies."
At Wimbledon, WTA spokesman Andrew Walker said that the association had a plan which, "Includes developing a device for umpires to measure grunting during matches, and a rule to set limits on how much noise is acceptable."
The second semi-final haf Serena Williams, who can be loud, too. Serena, though, is quiet compared to her opponent Sara Errani and the other half of the draw. So, I pick the quieter of the foursome to win the US Open women's singles Saturday.
During the US Open it seems that the plans have not been followed out by the WTA because if there was a device for measuring grunting or loud decibels during the match it might have broken. Whether it's because of the grunting or too frequent commentary, make sure you turn your volume down for the other semi and finals, or off for me after today's first semi.