Why Do Tennis Players Grunt? – Decoding the Grunts

By Lin
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why do tennis players grunt
Credit Image: © Jason Heidrich/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press

If you’ve ever watched a game of tennis, chances are, you’ve heard the players grunting. This might surprise some people watching the sport and can be even more surprising to those playing it.

Grunting is a common aspect of tennis playing, from leisure games to professional, televised matches. Many consider this a way to release energy while hitting the ball, while others find it unfair to the opponent.

Have you noticed you’re grunting while playing tennis? Why do people do this, and what benefits does it have? Keep reading to find out!

Table of Content

Why Do Tennis Players Grunt?


One of the main reasons tennis players will grunt during a game is to exude confidence on the court. Typically, when tennis players grunt, they use their energy to connect with the ball, getting it over the net and onto their opponent’s court.


Grunting also helps with performance, often connected to stronger, faster strokes. Releasing the energy from your body as the racket and ball connect can be empowering, resulting in a much better game.

According to  Louise Deeley, a sports psychologist at Roehampton University, grunting is part of the rhythm for tennis players.


As someone lets out noise while serving or returning the ball, this creates added strength to their play. Of course, that’s not to say you have to grunt to win a game of tennis: but it can help some people.

What Are The Benefits Of Grunting In Tennis?

The benefits of grunting in tennis are surprising to many. Whether it’s increased performance, faster strokes, or heightened confidence: making noise has helped numerous players win their matches.

Grunting Gives You More Power

One of the primary reasons someone grunts in tennis is to exert more force when serving or returning the ball. Studies have shown that players who grunt when hitting groundstrokes are able to hit them 3.8% faster than those who are silent.

The same goes for serving: grunters serve 4.9% faster than quiet players. This might seem impossible to calculate, but through exerting noise, also comes a force that can be an advantage for a game.

Grunting Can Distract Your Opponent

Another benefit to grunting while playing tennis is distracting the other player. When you make noise while hitting the ball, this can cause your opponent to lose their focus and concentration.

Grunting May Slow Your Opponent’s Reaction Time

If you want to disguise the moment the ball and racket connect, grunting is an easy way to do this. Players who grunt when hitting the ball can reduce their opponent’s reaction and response rate to their stroke.

If they can’t hear the ball being returned or served: this might give you an extra advantage of a few milliseconds.

Grunting Reduces Tension

One of the best advantages of grunting while playing tennis is the tension release it provides. Many players find that as they let out a grunt, their muscles relax and become more fluid during a game.

Pro tennis players like Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, to Maria Sharapova grunt (loudly), while playing their games, and it’s proven to be very successful.

These surprising health benefits of tennis might also be worth the read.

Grunting Helps Improve Breathing And Rhythm

When someone grunts in tennis, it almost forces them to connect with the ball perfectly on-time. As the ball and racket meet, their grunt is the finishing touch on the movement: creating a nice rhythm and game flow.

Additionally, your breathing will improve through grunting, as it requires a deep breath in and out as you hit the ball.

Grunting On The Court May Increase Confidence

Another key benefit of grunting on the tennis court is a confidence boost. Because you will be more relaxed, precise, and in rhythm with the ball, these factors can boost confidence levels and overall game quality.

There have been endless studies and cases made for grunting in tennis, even going as far as saying doing it while hitting back can benefit a player’s entire career.

Which Tennis Players Have the Loudest Grunts?

When it comes to the tennis players with the loudest grunts, these include icons like Maria Sharapova, Monica Seles, Jimmy Connors, Venus and Serena Williams, John McEnroe, and Andre Agassi, to name a few.

Of this list, it’s often said that Maria Sharapova has the loudest grunt in pro tennis currently, regularly exceeding 100 decibels during a game.

Here is a video from 2012 of Maria being interviewed about her loud grunting during her games

That said, Monica Seles and Jimmy Connors have been regarded as the original “creators” of grunting on the court, with John McEnroe being another pioneer of the concept.

Making noise during tennis games has been highly contested for many years, as some viewers do not find it appealing. Regardless, if it enhances a player’s confidence and skill set: that is all that matters.

This post on the 10 best tennis documentaries will cover some of the players mentioned above.


Does Grunting Enhance One’s Shot?

Yes! Grunting can benefit you as a player because of its tension-releasing qualities and the ability to confuse, distract, and block an opponent’s ability to hear the sound of your racket and ball connecting.

As you grunt, it releases more energy from your body, which can be used to make a stronger, faster shot.

Is Grunting Banned In Tennis?

As of now, grunting is not banned in tennis. However, becoming too loud or distracting during a game can result in a player being penalized, so it’s better to keep the volume moderate.

Does Grunting Negatively Affect Your Opponent?

Yes, grunting or yelling during a match can distract and negatively impact the other person’s game.

According to the National Institutes of Health, grunting as you serve or return a ball is also a way to block their ability to hear when the ball is initially returned or served, becoming a disadvantage to them.

Why Do Female Tennis Players Grunt So Much?

Female tennis players tend to grunt to release tension, distract their opponents, and enhance their game. Women’s tennis feels louder because female players grunt: it is higher-pitched than when a male player does the same thing.

Men have trouble producing high-frequency grunts/yells, so theirs may appear softer. Both men and women do this: women tend to make a louder final grunt.

Related: 10 Best Female Tennis Players of All Time (Profiles & Records)

Final Thoughts

In this article, we discussed why tennis players grunt and what benefits doing this has on the game. Building confidence, increased force, better breathing and rhythm, and even distracting your opponent are all pros of grunting during a match. Don’t be afraid to make some noise the next time you play!

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Editor of All Points Tennis and a huge Roger Federer fan, I've spent countless hours studying his moves, especially his forehand and one-handed backhand. I also love writing about all the technical stuff like rackets and strings. I'm super pumped to share my insights with fellow tennis lovers here.