Stop grunting, female tennis players!

A former Wimbledon champ stirs up controversy with his remarks on women and sex appeal on the courts

By Frieda Klotz

Published June 22, 2009 6:23PM (EDT)

Since Monica Seles took to the Wimbledon court in 1992, a debate has raged in the UK around the grunts of women tennis players. Are they merely trying to hit the ball, or are they trying to get attention or throw off their opponents? Wimbledon opened in London today and Michael Stich, a former champion and BBC commentator, has stirred up controversy but offering female players some choice words of advice on the topic: "It sounds disgusting, ugly, unsexy!" But it gets worse, according to the UK Mail on Sunday:

When challenged that it was the women’s role to play the best tennis they could, rather than look sexy, Stich stuck to his guns. ‘That’s what they sell,’ he [said]... ‘They want to look good, they pay attention to their looks and everything.’

He went on to joke, rather incautiously, that the best way to stop women players grunting was to “shoot them.”  

Perhaps in an attempt to keep his job, Stich has since said his remarks were taken “out of context."


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