Leading article: Sound of summer

It is with mixed emotions that we consider the suggestion from the renowned tennis coach, Nick Bollettieri, that female tennis players who grunt excessively on court be docked points.

The debate about the acceptability of the tennis grunt is now so old that it has whiskers. Hardcore anti-grunters will, doubtless, feel buoyed by the support of so distinguished a name as Bollettieri. But the awkward fact is that grunting has been around for so long now that many of us, despite our initial annoyance, have grown used to the sound of players expelling air through their windpipes at high velocity after each shot.

The quintessential sound of summer used to be the thwack of leather on willow from the village green. Now it has competition from the grunt from the tennis courts of Wimbledon. At the risk of upsetting a new anti-grunt bandwagon, let us pose a question: might we not miss the grunt if it disappeared?