Dampen Down the Damsel Decibels in WTA Tennis
by Patricia Moloney Dugas
Freelance writer and Avid Sports Reporter in Palm Springs
Like many other societal failings these days, the WTA, for whatever ungodly reason, has allowed the Women’s Tennis Tour to become a hootin’, howlin’ cat fight. While this screech-fest is going on, the fans, locked in their seats, are committed to absolute silence. Heaven forbid a child should cut loose – play would be halted and they would be forced to remove the annoyance post haste.
Because the WTA hasn’t had the chutzpah to step in and regulate this decibel debacle, we, the tennis devotees, are instead subjected to an unparalleled symphony of screams. Since their screeching is deliberately, diabolically orchestrated, it becomes necessary for the ladies to develop their own unique shriek – something with a matchless wail to it. The required variance only accentuates the silliness. Do they need a Shriek Coach? Where do they practice? If they should flub their screech on court, is that like a blink in poker?
These athletes, appearing in teeny, tiny, tennis tutu’s, belie the ferocity that burns in their barely covered bosoms and bottoms to smash, crash, and annihilate the little yellow fuzzies.
I openly confess to having prayed for a bout of incurable laryngitis to hit the locker-rooms. Nothing life threatening, just painful – matching our eardrums. As I remember, Navratilova, Stephi, and Davenport, had no need to bellow. They just won all their slams by focusing on strokes – not shrieks.
As Sharipova’s career diminishes, her screech escalates. Protect your eardrums when her game goes to hell in a ball basket. Her freneticism is scary! I find myself relieved when she loses – taking her designer tutu, haughty affectations, pony tail, and puppy back to the airport. Sad commentary actually. Not like watching basketball where you can lower the TV volume and turn on the radio to hear the game. (Don’t get me started on college basketball!) Could we also use clackers, horns, and whistles at tennis matches? Should we have the right to verbally express ourselves.
Grunting has spread to the ATP men’s tour now but at least those few who do grunt don’t rattle my nerve endings. More of a mellow bellow.
Bottom line here. My email, license plate, and moniker is “Tennis Buff.” I play, watch, tape & DVR, photograph, and attend everything. I even pay big bucks for the Tennis Channel. In the 70’s, I was a paper cup away from Arthur Ashe at the U.S. Open at Longwood Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. He would never dream of grunting, even if he fell over the ball boys. Oh, such class! I even saw an 18 year-old curly haired kid named McEnroe beat up someone there on a hot Wednesday afternoon with nary a gasp.
I myself play with a Wilson Carbon Hyper-Hammer wide-body with enough power to punch a hole in the green court screens. I started with a small wooden Slazenger bought from my Aussie tennis coach. My elevation to the Hyper-Hammer is a testament to my continued involvement in the game. Having lived through the modernization of this grand ol’ lawn game, it is a joy to see the women’s game come alive with these stunning, super hyper-racquets. They have the power to intimidate, so they don’t need the sound effects. These racquets give them voice enough. Are we more likely to watch because the women have decided to screech? I don’t think so!
I no longer wake up at 2:00am here on the West Coast to watch women’s tennis LIVE from the European tourneys. With one eye open, I don’t want to listen to females screeching emanating from my giant stereo TV system in the bedroom. Not in the middle of the night. However, I will waken to watch the men’s matches.
I don’t watch women’s tennis while I am working at my desk anymore. Sad. I just check the scores. They could have stopped it way back when Monica Seles started grunting. They did try to stop her, but backed down. Mustn’t offend the prima donnas. Tough luck for the fans nailed to their sport cushions.
The most we can hope for at this stage of the game is that the WTA will at least attempt to curb the annoyance. Is it too late to abolish something they have already allowed to permeate the game? Like gun control, illegal immigration, and grunting, by the time they legislate it, everyone will have amassed an arsenal – of guns, green cards, grunts, groans, and bellows.
Patricia Moloney Dugas
Freelance writer and sports reporter in Palm Springs, California, USA
Patricia Moloney Dugas
Freelance Writer/Editor/Photographer, journalist, artist, sculptor
and Societal Tamperer, Twitter: @artrician