Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Somewhere fairly shingly
Top 10 Active Grunts
While trawling through the old threads on the men's forum when it resided in WTAWorld last year, I chanced upon a post of mine in which I attempted to list the Top 10 grunts of active players. I've resurrected it here, in no particular order:
Spadea: sounds like a wounded animal on its last legs, begging for mercy; speeds up into a short bark of panic when he gets in trouble. "Euurgghheeerrrr... euurgghhheeeerrr.... eurgh-hey! Eurgh-HEY!"
Saretta: brays mercilessly, maintaining the same rhythm for every shot of every rally of every match. Really quite impressive, and it ground Johansson into the ground during their Wimbledon match in 2002.
Kuerten: perhaps the grunter par excellence of tennis, he has sweeping moans that accompany his shots and can make him appear pretty lame, particularly when he is forced onto the defensive. All together now, "EuurggghhWAAAYYYYYY!"
Gaudio: horse-like features and a horsey, high-pitched shriek to match; increases in volume as he serves, yelps continue during rallies. Commentator quipped during RG 2002 match versus Ferrero that he sounds like in pain when he serves, which given Gaudio's comment that he was suffering from cramps in the post-match interview may well explain it. Pain also caused by another excruciating choke, one suspects.
Mantilla: how appropriate that he be nicknamed Felix the Cat - in moments of stress he sounds like one being dragged forcibly over the flagstones. Squeals his anxiety he loops up the ball and begins working his opponent over and over in endless topspin rallies. Again increases in volume on his tortuous serve... "Aaaaaaaaargheeeeeee!!!" Ha-eeeehhhh!" etc.)
Gonzalez: the flamboyant grunter. "Ah-haah! Ah-heey! Ah-heee! Ah-hwaay!" he yells as he smacks his forehand in all directions, intimidating his opponents through the exuberance of his shouts. In particular, note the change in volume to accompany the change of pace; gingerly he will caress backhand slices cross-court a couple of times, yelping "Ee-ya.... ee-ya..." before exploding into a titanic forehand down the line with a triumphant "Ee-yaHEEEEE! Vamos!!!")
Roddick: desperate, again like a wounded colt as he lugs his hefty frame around the court, emitting shuddering gasps as he flails at the ball and lumbers desperately for shots he can't reach. "Huuuurrrrrrr...!!! Huuurrrrrr!!!!"
Clement: the huffing and puffing grunter. He will emit desperate pants of exertion as he rushes up to chase down dropshots, hustles his opponents into making errors and makes unbelievable gets. "Hya-eeee! Hya-eehhhh! Aargh aaargh aaarggghh!...." (chasing to dropshot from opponent)
Robredo: all Spaniards grunt, but at a pinch he's the most vocal. As an opponent you know you're in trouble when he starts grunting, as it's a loud, nasal whine of determination. He really does drill into the senses with it. "Heuurrrrr! Heuurrrr!!!!"
Nadal: clearly intends to shriek the opponent into submission. "Aaaarrghhhh! AAARRRGGHHHHH!" It's like someone's had a go at his mother and he wants to take out his anger on court.
An honorary mention goes to Ljubicic - has anyone noticed that when he starts to struggle in a match, he begins this strangulated, guttural shriek of exertion? He yelps in pain as he makes contact with the ball, almost as though he's got a bad case of hiccups.
And one more, about a certain young American whose service bark can only be conveyed in onomatopaeic form: "Eeeya-HAAAAAHHHHH!!!!"
Before you ask, a) I have very acute hearing and b) yes, I have far too much time on my hands.
The Wit and Wisdom of the Tennis Journalist, Indian Wells 2004
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I remember this one time when I went on a vacation on the Maldives. That was in the year 2001, I think. I went to this spa. I went to walk around with my girlfriend. I walk in, and we want to book a spa. This guy goes, "AHH, I remember you. You beat Sampras. I saw you on TV." That was like, really, how can you remember me? This guy has probably never been off his island and still knows me. I was a little bit shocked. Then I went to play tennis with him because he was actually the tennis teacher. It was nice.
Q. Were you naked at the time in the spa?
ROGER FEDERER: No. It was at the front desk. I didn't walk in naked.