In an effort to address the sport's most overheated and overrated controversy, the Women's Tennis Association is introducing some sort of preposterous grunt-o-meter. Here's USA Today's Doug Robson on what the WTA will be rolling out:
• The development of a handheld device—a kind of Hawk-Eye for noise —for umpires to objectively measure on-court grunting levels.
• A new rule setting acceptable and non-acceptable noise levels based on acoustical data gathering and analysis.
• Education at large tennis academies, national development programs and at all levels of junior and lower-tier professional events.
Naturally, this will take years and years to implement. And it's unclear exactly how players will be penalized for grunting too loudly. (It doesn't seem like the hindrance rule—memorably invoked in the Serena Williams-Sam Stosur U.S. Open final last year—will be expanded to include grunting.)
But who cares! At long last the sport—with its lack of rivalries and its less than compelling play of late and its weak Grand Slam finals and its crappy TV ratings and its ongoing love-hate psychodrama over the Williams sisters—is addressing the 89th-most-pressing issue facing women's tennis.