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Grunt It Out

Marc Sanchez

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Nick Bollettieri
(Courtesy Nick Bollettieri)

Tennis fans have migrated east this weekend to watch the U.S. Open. If you listen closely, you can hear the chair umpire at Arthur Ashe stadium try to calm down the New York fans. Maybe a Bronx cheer would work a little better than the standard "Quiet, please." Of course, there are other sounds that come to mind whenever gladiators of the court gather.

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Nick Bollettieri: There are many reasons that people grunt. Maybe some of them is to break down the concentration of the opponent. But basically, grunting or exhaling whenever you are doing anything, could be weightlifting, hitting a baseball or a golf ball or tennis, is very important because it relaxes your body.

Let out all of the air, which helps you develop even more energy to take the shot. Monica Seles grunted from the day she was born. Today you have a lot of the players that grunt. But if you watch matches you'll find that the majority of the players are at least exhaling and a good number of them are really making the noise when they hit the ball.

If you hold your breath, generally speaking, the entire body is very tense and you are unable to do things in the natural way.

A lot of the players have complained about it but actually very little has been done about it. It's kind of hard to put a meter and say this is where it becomes annoying.

There are other sounds that are not necessarily verbal. And those sounds are sounds of joy, putting your hands up; slapping yourself on the fanny if you're a little angry; holding your shoulders up, showing that you are a fierce competitor. So visual sounds can cause as much as an effect on your opponent as verbal sound.

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