Rather disappointingly, I haven’t seen much of Wimbledon this year. I think tennis is a great game; I used to love playing it and watching a good player at work is a joy to behold. And, I admit, seeing Ana Ivanovic in a white dress at Wimbledon a few years ago made me start planning my future a bit more closely. She’s lovely.
One of the things that annoys me about watching the game is the grunting. I know this is nothing new and in a lot of instances I can zone out of it, but I can remember watching a match which I’m going to go out on a limb and say was Sharapova against Azarenka maybe at the Aussie Open where the screams were so bad I turned off the volume.
As with anything nowadays, there’s been a study in to it. Researchers from Sussex University have measured the pitch of the grunts to see what we can learn from it. Their results are given in the paper which is entitled “Tennis grunts communicate acoustic cues to sex and contest outcome.”
I read that and mistakingly saw sex as the act rather than the being. What I would have thought was obvious, though, has been proved – men and women can be recognised as such from the noises they make.
That meant that the more interesting part of the study comes from the “contest outcome” part. The researchers found that players grunt at a lower pitch in matches they win than in those they lose. The pitch though, is consistent throughout the contest before the result is clear, suggesting that it matches overall confidence or may even be seen as being intimidating by the opponent. The player gritting their teeth and clinging on grunts at a higher pitch than the one dominating. All sounds rather animalistic.
The interesting thing for me, thinking about this, was thinking about the best tennis player I’ve seen. Roger Federer is nearly silent as he glides around the court. Never mind the pitch then, maybe it’s even more intimidating when you can tell nothing at all about how someone is feeling.
What a day that I’ve left behind
Said I’ve done my time
I’ve been good
Can I find that line
I don’t feel it
I’m not hopeless
No more to say
I’ve got freedom
No more calling
I don’t care
I’ll walk away ’cause I’ve got confidence for quiet
I’m not afraid
I’m not hungry
I’m over fed
Satisfied with the life I’ve led
Moving on to where you can’t see
What is me
(What is me)
Confidence For Quiet by The Corrs