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And yet, for the sport as a whole, it would make good sense to ban the grunt. It can annoy the hell out of the audience. I just switch off.
Guys & Warriors have known about battle warm-ups and the killer-thrusts of "The Grunt etc" since Adam, Eve, the Snake, and their Apple fiasco. Now females finally are catching on, shudder... It took the Victorian English a little longer. This utterly un-economics article fails to remember Major Grubert's discoveries in Japan! [& China] Shame TE, FOR SHAME! What will females want next? The vote?
Glenn Gould used to grunt along while playing the piano:
The popularity of tennis doesn't seem to be declining much or for the reasons you state.
Tennis has always been a second or third tier sport in the US, yet some 18 million Americans play. This number is growing, albeit slower than the population as a whole, and the average age of tennis players and fans is slowly rising. However, TV ratings for the US Open finals have been relatively good in recent years, with the exception of 2017 when the men's matchup was disappointing for most casual fans. So it's not all roses, but tennis isn't exactly dying in the US either. I suspect that a Grand Slam win by an American man would cause popularity to surge. Of course the prospects for that happening anytime soon are currently dim.
Meanwhile, the popularity of less "elite" sports including the NFL and NASCAR have fallen far more. Perhaps it's because these sports were more popular to begin with and had more casual fans to lose than tennis. But the primary cause is likely the explosion in digital entertainment options -- streaming video content, music, social media, etc. There's simply more ways to spend time in front of a screen than there used to be, so the traditional entertainment options will lose share to the new options. This isn't a matter of elites vs. non-elites. Who do you think owns the content that people are shunning the NFL and NASCAR for?
Grunting can add 4-5% increase in performance...so, backed by science, we now know why people grunt and groan while having sex!...
The women's matches are better because they have less power but similar reaction times, so it is not just about aces or two-volley points. In the Australian Open this year, Pliskova has a powerful serve but the middling-powered Halep took care of her easily in the quarterfinals and will be in the finals. Wozniaki is a rather defensive player without a big serve but is ranked #2 in the world and is in the finals. And Hsieh (though she lost the match) was able to troll the power-hitter Kerber with precision drop-shots in their match, making it clear accuracy and finesse still have large roles on the women's side.
“Quiet please”, their favourite instruction, applies only to the crowd."
Or let the crowd make noise too.
As the world is no longer captive to a small hand full of providers of entertainment content, here in the US that small hand full not too long ago consisting of basically THREE options tennis will continue on the path golf has taken. Once we were fed tennis and golf and other sports by the elites and expected to internalize them as important,expected to become "fans", expected to run out and enroll our children in the sport.
Now.....with freedom and options.....many of us have moved on. Don't care about someone whacking a little ball into a hole, nor do we care about someone bashing a ball across a net to another someone.
Basically we're slowly but surely breaking the grasp of the elites, as they lose centralized control over media, with the result that.....well.......more and more of us could not give less of the rear end of a rat about some "professional" tennis star, or golf star.....or.....finally.....football star.
And it is a beautiful thing.
Surely this is no surprise to anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the martial arts, which have used an explosive breath to focus power for centuries if not millennia.
Or of course watch without sound. A joy.
The game of tennis has been wrecked by the big serve. It is actually now a game of serving. A simple demonstration of precision power. There's not much tennis in the game anymore. The grunt is a part of this process of 'empowering' the game. A nail in the coffin of an elegant and stylish game.
Any studies on increased performance when calling the other names?
Agreed, the 'ladies' game is nearer what I guess us oldies would consider ideal. But the grunts!; it's like being in a pigsty. The game has been manipulated by TV interests such that the visually entertaining has trumped the rationality of game rules.
And hence, why after a chuckle and a wince, I turn OFF the match.........
Well, I vote for a haka on both sides of the net - pre-match; then, only thwocks!
I hate it. It seems self-indulgent, and the opposite of Stoical and disciplined. The mute button is my friend.