Let's tone down the deci-belles

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 24/01/2013

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OPINION: Bojana Jovanovski's barrage a few nights back was a danger to the sound system on my humble flat screen.

The 21-year-old Serbian tennis player made one heck of a racket while playing young American Sloane Stephens in their last-16 match at the Australian Open.

Jovanovski might have been crippled by making 18 unforced errors but she almost crippled Stephens with her grunting.

This is a hardy annual. The umpires can enforce a hindrance rule if they choose; but they don't.

They should if a player accuses an opponent of a noise violation. After all, the umpires keep asking the spectators to shut up.

Instead, all the bigwigs are doing is trying to teach young players proper breathing.

It was hardly surprising to discover this Jovanovski was accused by German Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon of distracting her with the grunting, so much that she couldn't hear the ball coming off the racket.

The players justify it by saying grunting is what they did when they were young and it is ingrained when they get their adult teeth.

With two of the world's best, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, among the prime grunters, the umpires and officials aren't about to mute them in a hurry.

If dogs barked to the same extent, they would probably be put down.

The grunting demeans women's tennis.

I'm tempted to try it on the golf tee, even at the risk of being deemed uncouth and being struck off the national database.

Finally, if you want to hear a real humdinger of a screamer, go to YouTube and listen to Portuguese Michelle Larcher de Brito. She has been recorded at 109 decibels, eight decibels louder than Sharapova and at such a level it would put the world's most passionate lover to shame.

So hear this: Sustained exposure to 90 to 95 decibels can result in hearing loss.

De Brito was booed off the court at the French Open when another opponent complained.

Thankfully she lost in the first round at Melbourne after scaring the city's crows through three qualifying rounds. She has arrogantly said that nobody can stop her grunting and if people don't like it, they can leave.

■ Great to see the Black Chaps winning the one-dayers in South Africa even if sent to such outposts as Paarl, Kimberley, and Potchefstroom.

Just imagine how dominant they would have been had our Ross Taylor been there in the batting lineup.

We received a missive from NZ Cricket this week in which chairman Chris Moller said he was pleased so many former captains, players, and coaches are keen to contest positions on the board. Wonder why?

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■ Most people try to get away from what they do at work when it comes to their leisure time.

Not Palmerston North's Colin Anderson, who simply shifts from his postie's bike to his road bike.

His 24-hour ride at Feilding on Sunday earned my admiration because it takes courage to saddle up and ride 633km at the age of 63. Part of his motivation is to show older folk they can get off the sofa and stay active. As he said, they don't have to take an addiction like his to such extremes.

■ Lance Armstrong's interviews with Oprah were so dragged out and boring the subject has rapidly waned. It seems we knew almost every professional cyclist back then was on some form of jungle juice, and any who reneged would have been quickly sent packing.

Those relying on their own metabolism would only have got to see the back wheels of riders belting away from them in every race. We have been led to believe New Zealand riders were squeaky clean, but that's naive. Even Manawatu riders of the past would come home and allude to the oppressive doping culture in pro teams in Europe.

- Manawatu Standard

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