Sharapova-style ‘lion-roar’ shrieks may soon be history in tennis

Updated: Jun 27, 2012, 18:11 PM IST

Washington: The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is set to crackdown on players who shriek, shout and grunt as they hit the ball.

Some super-grunters, such as top-ranked Maria Sharapova can top 100 decibels. A lion’s roar is only 110.

The WTA’s players’ council and representatives of the International Tennis Federation and the four grand-slam events approved the clean up at a meeting this month in Paris.

“It’s time for us to drive excessive grunting out of the game for future generations,” WTA’s CEO, Stacey Allaster was quoted as saying.

The WTA discussed with coaches, experts in sports science and top players past and present, including Billie Jean King and Serena and Venus Williams, and the officials determined it would be unfair to force today’s grunters to change the way they play.

Nor will the new policy affect men whose ranks have included world-class grunters like Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors.

Martina Navratilova, the retired superstar of women’s tennis, believes grunting a form of cheating, and it’s getting worse these days.

“The women are definitely louder and more abrasive,” Navratilova said.

No timetable was set for introducing the new devices or determining which noise levels are acceptable and which are not.