June 14, 2009

Tennis body mulls grunting penalties

International tennis officials are considering whether to make unseemly on-court grunting an offense serious enough to warrant match-altering penalties.

The Sunday Times of London reported that some say persistent grunters are hurting the sport.

Already, officials can award a point against grunting players if they are deemed to have hindered an opponent.

Now the International Tennis Federation is considering whether to make noise hindrance part of its code of conduct.

If the federation moves ahead with its plan, persistent grunters would forfeit points first, then a whole game and ultimately perhaps a whole match, the newspaper reported.

I have lost count of the number of people who have written to me saying grunting spoils their enjoyment of a match, said Sue Barker, a former French Open champion. "It's unattractive; it's distracting. I would like to see it ultimately done away with. But while they should tighten up the rules, you cannot expect a player to stop immediately.