If you’ve been—AUUGGGHHH!!!—watching women’s tennis lately, you’ll have noticed a whole lot of—VVVUUUUHT!!— grunting. “Close your eyes when you watch Wimbledon,” suggests Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. “You could be forgiven for thinking the remote had inadvertently moved to a pay channel.” Tennis purists hate it, and some players argue that it’s artificial gamesmanship. But Wertheim doesn’t think it’s so bad.
“For years, tennis has tried desperately to debunk the image that it’s not merely a wimpy country club divertissement,” Wertheim argues. “What underscores the strenuous nature of the sport more forcefully than otherwise dignified players—male and female—screeching like train brakes when they hit the ball?” For women especially the grunts make a statement: "I’m a star, and I’ll—NUUUSSHH-EEEHH!—grunt if I want to."