INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Grunting: It’s not just a WTA thing.
Andy Murray took issue with Carlos Berlocq’s grunting during their fourth-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday. In the tightly contested first set, Berlocq complained to the umpire that Murray was taking more than 25 seconds between points, a violation of the ATP’s rule. In turn, Murray — who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory — told the umpire to do something about Berlocq’s irregular and prolonged grunting.
“It’s ridiculous. He’s grunting and I’m still hitting the ball. It’s a joke,” Murray said to Steve Ulrich after being broken at 4-4 in the first set. “Absolutely ridiculous. His grunting is ridiculous. Never heard anything like it on the men’s tour before. Never.”
See Murray’s rant below (and click here to watch the first set so you can judge for yourself on Berlocq’s grunting):
After one point, Murray could be heard muttering to his box, “Solid grunt. Solid.”
“I just said at change of ends, ‘If I’m taking too long in between the points, tell me,’” Murray explained after the match. “But if his grunt is lasting until I’m making contact with the ball, then tell him to stop doing it. And that was it. I wasn’t the one that was initiating the discussions with the umpire about the rules.”
Murray implied that the Argentine’s grunt was a form of gamesmanship.
“When you’re doing it that loud but you aren’t doing that on every single shot, there is obviously a reason for why you’re grunting like that,” Murray said. He added: “If it’s distracting your opponent and making them play worse, then you’re getting an advantage. That’s why people complain about it.”
Murray said he felt compelled to mention Berlocq’s grunting to the umpire.
“When I have been on the court or off it, it’s never been something I have found to be really that off-putting,” Murray said. “But if it’s going to be suggested that I am using gamesmanship by taking too long, then you can’t be making noises like that on the court. It’s far too loud.”
Roger Federer addressed the grunting issue later Wednesday.
“I think it’s important to respect the opponent as a player,” Federer said, “so you shouldn’t grunt too loud. You shouldn’t grunt on one shot and then not the next. I think that’s a matter of respect, really.”