Study shows screams do distract tennis opponents


Maria SharapovaThere has been a lot of debate about screams that some players produce when hitting a ball and whether it distracts their opponents, thus affecting the result of the match. One of our readers, David Fearnhead, recently shared here on Women’s Tennis Blog his suspicion that screams are part of tactics. Well, we have scientific facts now – screaming does help you win tennis matches, according to the study conducted by American and Canadian researchers.

The results published in the online issue of Public Library of Science ONE show that loud players make their opponents’ reactions slower and less accurate. The researchers performed the study based on the reactions of 33 students in at the University of British Columbia, who were shown video clips of a player hitting a ball to either the left or right and were supposed to quickly determine the direction. Some shots were accompanied by loud noises such as those of Maria Sharapova and the students did respond slower in such cases.

The report is stating another effect the screams are having – they mask the sound made off the racquet, thus hampering a receiver’s ability to judge the spin and velocity of a ball.

Tennis great Martina Navratilova will sure love this research as she herself referred to screams as “cheating pure and simple.” (photo: © Neal Trousdale, sources: BBC, Reuters)


  1. Had John Mcenroe grunted during tennis, like when lifting a heavy piano, I’m pretty sure that Boban Zivojinovic would have come up with something other than just a sandwich for him. xd


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