Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams Grunting Tennis Matches May Soon Come to an End; WTA Begins Audio Testing at Events
Someday soon, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova may be groaning about a tennis rule outlawing grunting.
According to USA TODAY Sports, the WTA has begun testing noise levels at its events as it starts to determine how it can put an end to the players' grunting.
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WTA chief executive Stacey Allaster conducted an interview with USA TODAY Sports and said the tour had started audio testing, using courtside devices measuring the noise levels.
"We have begun to do the audio testing, and we have begun it in this quarter of 2013," Allaster said on Saturday at the WTA Championships.
A research firm with expertise in urban noise levels is assisting the WTA with its data-gathering efforts, but Allaster did not say how that data would be used or give any details or timelines about how the data would be taken, how it would be measured and how it would be applied on a broader scale.
"There is more data to be done, there's more assessment to be done on the different audible levels," she said. "There are a variety of different environments that you need to assess the audible levels - indoor buildings, outdoor buildings, small venues, different surfaces, etc."
USA TODAY Sports reported that the WTA has addressed excessive grunting after public criticism from players and negative feedback from media and fans.
BusinessInsider.com presented an article over the summer of the 10 loudest grunters in women's tennis. Sharapova topped the list. Second was Victoria Azarenka, followed by Williams. Caroline Wozniacki was fourth, followed by Angelique Kerber.
USA TODAY Sports added that at the 2012 Wimbledon, officials unveiled a three-pronged plan aimed at curbing offensive levels of noise via technology, rule changes and education - including the possible development of a hand-held "grunt-o-meter" device for umpires.