It seems sometimes like hardly any discussion of tennis players (female ones in particular, but as you’ll see, plenty of guys do it as well) can pass without raising the topic of grunting. There are videos dedicated to the sounds produced by Maria Sharapova. The BBC devised ways to try and mute it. David Letterman grilled Serena Williams about her own noise-making. And now, thanks to The Wall Street Journal, you can figure out just how much of a grunting connoisseur you are.
The WSJ is the master of building clever ideas around goofy topics like this (think back to their detailed analysis into NFL pregame hosts’ excessive laughter), and the interactive nature of this feature really pushes it over the top. Some players are easy to match to their grunts, but we struggled with a couple. Still, we managed to finish in 11 tries, which we think is respectable. The only thing we’d change is how the graphic says “You’re a Winner!” when you finish it, because it makes us feel like the following hypothetical conversation is taking place:
Me: [Shuffling along with head down, sad Charlie Brown music playing in background, storm cloud directly above my head raining on only me, speaking dejectedly to myself] Aw man, I can’t do anything right. I’m a real loser.
Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson: [Was coincidentally walking nearby, sidles up next to me] Don’t talk like that, young man. You’re a winner.
Me: [Looks up, face lightens up, cloud lifts, suddenly hopeful] Wow, mister, you think so?!
Thomson: You can be anything you want to be, son.
Me: Aw, gee, thanks mister, that means a lot!
Thomson: I know you’ll make me proud, my boy.
Me: [With newfound confidence and resolve] I promise, sir.
Thomson: Thank you, my son. And now, I depart, as my work here is complete…but you must never forget what a special young man you are.
[Thomson summons power of his avian friends, flies away, soaring to the next lost soul in need. I watch him, bask in his majesty, and return to my apartment with my head held high. I then re-take the grunt-matching test, this time completing it in an impressive nine tries. While disappointed by my lone errant guess, I accept imperfection as a fact of life and take pride in doing my best.]
Overall, though, cool idea. The SportsGrid house score, again, is 11. If you didn’t click before, the link’s here – see if you can beat us.