Some experts say it's a reflex. Others say its a tool. Sharapova, Monica Seles, and Serena Williams have been accused of doing it to deliberately to distract their opponents. Back in 2009 Martina Navratilova said "grunting is cheating, pure and simple--it muffles the sound of the ball hitting the racket that opponents rely on as a cue."
Researchers, exercise scientists, experimented. They got 20 students to kick a 100 pound bag while grunting, then, do it without grunting. A device attached to the bag enabled researchers to measure the force of each kick. They published the result: Students moved the bat with 9% more force when they grunted.
Other experts, after other tests, have said, "It is a reflex, rather than a conscious choice--during strenuous exercise, it's instinctive to hold your breath and give a grunt."
Planet Fitness, one of the largest fitness club franchises, bans grunting in its 1,500 clubs. They will revoke the membership of the persistent offender.
Does it bother me? Yes! I'm not a tennis-watching-nut like my husband, John Cullum, is. I watch the kids who rush in to grab the balls. I observe the audience. My mind wanders. The grunting definitely distracts me ... the truth is, it gets me thinking about the player's private life.
Hey, my tennis-nut-beloved, agrees. Watch this video -- what's your reaction?