I know this is kind of off topic for my blog, but one of my readers asked for a scientific analysis of why female tennis players feel like they have to squeal. Not sure if she was serious or just joking but I thought I’d say a few words about it anyway. First of all lets look at what Roger does, this is after all a Federer blog. I don’t think I’ve ever hear Roger grunt let alone squeal, so we know from that fact that you don’t have to squeal to play well. We also know that Roger cares and that he is a great ambassador for the game. So that fact already creates some suspicion. Now lets look at what Rafa does. Constantly picking his butt, time wasting between points and obsessive compulsive behaviour are all testament to the fact that he is not exactly a model for on court behaviour. And of course he grunts.
Therefor we can make an assumption that grunting or squealing is in fact a bad thing! The reason Rafa grunts is because it’s a habit and he feels like it gives him an edge. If you are a keen observer you will notice that the more important the point becomes the more he grunts. The same happens with the females, when the pressure increases they squeal harder. We know Rafa is not as talented as Roger and that he expands a lot more effort. His game is very forced and and so is the grunting. There certainly is nothing elegant or beautiful about squealing or grunting. There is currently a match going on between a sixteen year old girl from Portugal and a French girl. The teenager was squealing so hard that the French girl made a complaint about it, after which the teenager got a warning.
It didn’t seem to make any difference though, the last time I checked she was squealing only harder if anything. Luckily she lost the first set and hopefully she loses the match, this kind of behaviour is not good for tennis. I have to wonder why there hasn’t been more complaints about this. Someone like Sharapova and the Williams sisters are equally as bad. It seems like all the top women’s players these days have developed their own squeal, almost as a kind of defence mechanism. When I think of a female player that has grace and beauty I think of Steffi Graff, and she never squealed. I guess some of the females think it is sexy to grunt, which is fair enough. But it’s another thing to squeal like a pig. It’s not sexy at all and it’s bad for the image of the game.
I know if someone did that against me I would definitely complain. Not only because it could interfere with my concentration but also to get under my opponent’s skin. It’s a great opportunity to disrupt your opponent. When the French girl made the complaint against the Portuguese girl she was clearly put off. She was arguing with the umpire during changeovers and ended up losing the first set. This is what I talked about after the Madrid final as well. Whenever you can disrupt your opponents rhythm it is a good thing. That’s why the Portuguese girl didn’t stop grunting after the warning, if anything it got worse. When she got a warning she felt threatened and she needed to grunt to deal with it. But the complaint was enough to make her lose the first set.
So really for this to be stopped the players have to take action first. The officials won’t do anything when there are no complaints. Not only will complaining about it put their opponent off but it will also eradicate this nonsense from the game of tennis. I think a certain amount of grunting is OK, but the women don’t seem to be able to control it. It just gets to a point where it reaches a certain level of absurdity. It’s just a habit that needs to be broken. The kids learn it at the academies and then it becomes a habit. I’ve never been a fan of tennis academies. I’ve been to a few myself and it’s very stereotypical. Players are not taught to think for themselves, they are more like a flock of sheep who does whatever the group does. It’s like high school, no room for individuality.
So when squealing becomes a trend everyone at the academy starts doing it. To conclude I think to stop this silliness from damaging the name of tennis the problem should be tackled at academy level and by the players themselves at the professional level.
Ps. The French girl just beat the Portuguese girl in straight sets and the Portuguese girl got booed off the court for not shaking her opponents hand properly, thereby proving my theory that complaining to the officials about squealing will destroy your opponent and eradicate squealing from the game. It also proves my theory that tennis academies are stereotypical and players who come out of it are not ready for the game at top level. Now why am I not a scientist?! :lol: