Tennis grunting: Carlos Alcaraz and Aryna Sabalenka revealed as biggest grunters

Shahida Jacobs
An animated Carlos Alcaraz

Why do tennis players grunt? Some believe players grunt as it enhances their level of play, others say players do it to distract their opponents while there are those who feel tennis grunting is simply a release of energy.

Tennis grunting has been part and parcel of the sport for several decades with Jimmy Connors and Monica Seles considered the inventors, but the noises appear to be getting louder every few years.

Back in the day, Seles’ grunting levels were regularly measured at just over 90 decibels, but Maria Sharapova took it up a few notches during her heyday as she was recorded at 103 decibels at one point yet the record holder is Michelle Larcher de Brito as she reached 109db during Wimbledon 2013 when she was just 16 years old.

Fast forward 10 years and the current crop are still at it and new research has revealed that Carlos Alcaraz is the top grunter in men’s tennis while Aryna Sabalenka takes the cake in the women’s game. analysed hours of tennis matches to determine the top grunters in the top 30 of the men’s and women’s rankings, respectively, and they found that reigning US Open champion Alcaraz grunts on 100% of serves analysed and 80% of shots during a rally.

Croatia’s Borna Coric is joint-top with Alcaraz when it comes to grunting on serves as he is also 100%, but the world No 15 grunts on “only” 73.08% of regular shots (non-serve).

Felix Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile, grunts on 87% of shots analysed and 83% of serves.

The top five men’s players who grunt the most:

Player Percentage of audible
grunts when serving
Percentage of audible grunts
on a
regular shot (non-serve)
Carlos Alcaraz 100% 80%
Borna Coric 100% 73.08%
Felix Auger-Aliassime 82.61% 86.96%
Taylor Fritz 82.35% 76.09%
Karen Khachanov 88.24% 47.37%

As for the women’s game, it is no surprise that Sabalenka has taken over the mantle from Sharapova. Back in 2018, Sabalenka’s grunting became so loud during a match against Ashleigh Barty at the Australian Open that spectators started to imitate her grunts, prompting the chair umpire to politely ask the fans: “Ladies and gentlemen please, during the rally, do not scream.”

There was no imitating of Sabalenka when she won this year’s Australian Open, but her grunt is still top notch as analysis has found she grunts on 100% of serves and 95% of shots made during a rally (non-serves).

Rising Brazilian star Beatriz Haddad Maia enjoyed a magical run at the French Open as she reached the semi-final and she comes in at No 2 as she also grunts on 100% of serves and 93% of shots while Maria Sakkari grunts on 81% of serves and 63% of shots.

The top five women’s players who grunt the most:

Player Percentage of audible
grunts when serving
Percentage of audible grunts
on a
regular shot (non-serve)
Aryna Sabalenka 100% 95.45%
Beatriz Haddad Maia 100% 93.22%
Maria Sakkari 80.95% 62.86%
Veronika Kudermetova 90.91% 52.63%
Ons Jabeur 71.43% 57.69% used four games for each player across two separate singles matches to analyse which players grunt the most upon serving and shooting a shot (non-serve). Two of these games include a game where the player was serving.

The total number of grunts was divided by the total number of serves/shots to reveal the percentage of how often each player grunts when hitting the ball.

READ MORE: Tennis grunting: A full minute of Maria Sharapova grunts, the battle of the grunters and more