Wimbledon 2011: Grunting Complaint Season Comes Earlier Every Year

It's Day 3 of Wimbledon 2011. The clouds have parted for long enough spans of time to allow real, actual tennis to be played at the All England Club; all the superstars of the men's and women's draws made it out of the first round without upset, and it's time to kick back, sip at a Pimm's Cup, and savor the hallowed traditions of tennis' greatest tournament.

Those traditions, of course, come fondly and readily to the minds of any tennis fan: Strawberries and cream. Crisp tennis whites against the green lawns. And the hilariously anthropologic annual howling in the press of the way those naughty Eastern Bloc girls are ruining the sport with their hollering:

On the first day of the SW19 championships, Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, a player often criticised for her wails, edged towards record noise levels as she made her debut on Court No 2. Noise machines recorded her reach a level of 95 decibels as she shrieked her way through the first round match against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova. [...] The loudest known grunt came from Maria Sharapova, who sent the sound monitor into new realms with a recording of 105 decibels in 2009.

It's all very British, of course, so all involved are being achingly polite about it ("We have discussed it with the tours and we believe it is helpful to reduce the amount of grunting."), but like the tournament's genteel, continued refusal to let Bethanie Mattek-Sands take the court dressed in a white-and-gold Big Bird outfit, don't expect either side to budge any time soon. The bemoaning of The State Of Tennis Today, like the natty uniforms of tournament officials, is just part of the landscape now. In the spirit of tradition, I'll even spot you a headline for next year's hand-wringing column: "White Noise."

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