How many times have we heard of grunting in tennis? Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and many other tennis players, women and men, scream when they hit the ball with the racket. A gesture that allows them to unleash the emotions they have and to dissipate the competitive charge of the game.
However, many insiders have always said that there are some help tennis players in performances. An article of 2019 by Plos One, entitled: The sound of speed: How grunting affirms opponents' anticipation in tennis, explains how the grunting has an effective role.
Below you can read an abstract of the article: "Grunting in tennis is a widespread phenomenon and whether it influences opponents' predictions of ball trajectory-and if so, why-is subject to the ongoing debate. Two alternative hypotheses have been proposed to explain why grunting may impede opponents' predictions, referred to as the distraction account (ie, grunts capture attentional resources necessary for anticipation) and the multisensory integration account (ie, auditory information from the grunt systematically influences ball trajectory prediction typically assumed to rely on visual information.) To put these competing hypotheses to test, in video games of tennis rallies featuring experimentally amplified, attenuated, or muted grunting sounds Participants were asked to predict the ball landing.
trajectories whereas radial prediction errors were not affected. These results are clearly the odds with the distraction account of grunting, predicting increased prediction errors after higher intensity grunts. In contrast, our findings provide strong support for the multisensory integration account by demonstrating that grunt intensity systematically influences judgments of ball trajectory."
Source: The sound of speed: How grunting affects opponents' anticipation in tennis by Plos One