For some reason, an ever-growing number of female tennis players cannot strike a tennis ball without releasing a loud, passionate grunt. Some players let out a deep, guttural grunt that sounds like their lifting a sofa. Others let out high-pitched screams that sound more like angry sex. But either way, once you notice it, that’s all you hear when you watch a match. Pop, grunt, bounce; pop, grunt, bounce; pop, grunt, bounce; pop, grunt, bounce.
I don’t know for sure if all the grunting made women’s tennis more popular. But there’s no question that tennis is the most popular women’s sport in the world today, and it started gaining popularity in the 90s— right about the time that “tennis grunts” became widespread. Could it just be a coincidence?
In any case, today, we take a look at some of the most famous grunts in women’s tennis. They pretty much run the gamut, from scary to erotic to hilarious to downright annoying. But in every case, they are just plain ridiculous.
Former tennis great Monica Seles invented the tennis grunt. She burst onto the scene back in 1989, reaching the finals of the French Open as a 15-year-old. Two years later she was the #1 player in the world, and everyone was like, "Who is this kid? And why the hell is she screaming every time she hits the ball?"
Apparently, other players thought all that screaming gave Seles magical tennis powers. Now half the players on the women's tour do it. So thank you, Monica.
9. Monica Seles
Retired (as of August 2011) British tennis player Katie O'Brien is runner up for the "most manly female tennis grunt" award. (You'll meet the winner at #5.) But what's really interesting about this grunt is how it lingers. A lot of players have a two-part grunt that begins when they draw their racket back, as they prepare to strike the ball. However, O'Brien's deep grunt seems to come well after she's hit the ball.
8. Katie O’Brien
Here we have our #8 tennis grunter, Katie O'Brien, competing against our #7 grunter, Elena Dementieva. They get a good rally going around the 0:24 mark, so that's where the grunting really gets exceptional. O'Brien lets the deep manly grunts rumble, and Dementieva responds with some grunts that almost sound like she's saying "nuh uh" to each of O'Brien's shots. It's like their communicating with each other in grunts.
7. Elena Dementieva
You know a grunt is distinctive when you can tell who it is without even seeing them. In this clip, the camera is focused on not-Venus (is it Ana Ivanovic perhaps?), but you know those sex noises could only be coming from erotic tennis grunt pioneer Venus Williams.
6. Venus Williams
When two top-notch tennis grunters face each other or team up for a doubles match...look out.
Here, Venus' little sister Serna shows she will not be outdone in the grunting department. However, whereas Venus emits vaguely sexy lady shrieks, Serna spews far angrier masculine grunts. So while you might prefer Serena Williams in the looks department, if you were choosing between the two based solely on their tennis grunts, most men would probably go with Venus.
5. Serena Williams
Russian Elana Bovina may not be a star (she's currently ranked #284 in singles and #110 in doubles), but her grunting is truly world-class. It's feminine but angry, intense but not scary. In short, it's just right. I can't believe it doesn't help her win more matches.
4. Elana Bovina
Victoria Azarenka, currently the world's #1-ranked player, actually has two different grunts which she deploys under different circumstances. You see, the less cumbersome the outfit, the more compact the grunt.
In the video above from the U.S. Open, Azarenka is wearing booty shorts and a tank top, so her erotic lady grunts are relatively short and sweet. But in the video below, from the Australian Open, where she is wearing a full tennis dress, the grunts are longer and sound more like bird calls than sex noises.
3. Victoria Azarenka
19-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal is only ranked #139 in the world. Nevertheless, she's become quite famous on the women's tour because of her excessive screaming every time she strikes a ball. It drives her competition nuts, and a number of them have called her out and demanded she tone it down a bit. But Michelle insists that the screeching is an essential, unintentional part of her game.
2. Michelle Larcher de Brito
Coming in at #1 is our good friend, Maria Sharapova. She's not only one of the hottest, most talented players in the WTA (currently ranked #2). She's also the loudest. And that's not just an anecdotal observation. It's science. Sharapova's insane grunts have actually been measured at a whopping 101 decibels.
In case you were wondering, sustained noise measuring 90-95dB can cause permanent hearing damage. A Jackhammer at 50 feet is about 95dB. A motorcycle is about 100dB. So yeah, Sharapova's grunts are LOUD.
1. Maria Sharapova
grunters, Maria Sharapova, Michelle Larcher de Brito, serena williams, victoria azarenka, Women's Tennis,