Red Red Whine

Spurs are still doing their best to blow their Champions League ambitions, however it now looks like, barring total implosion, they have crossed the winning line. It would take a 8 goal turnaround with their bitter rivals on the final day for them to fail to qualify through their league position.

How pochettino could bemoan the referees decisions in their defeat by Bournemouth is beyond reason. Eric Dier should have departed long beforethe first RED showed to Son. Dier was miles off the pace on his return to action and very lucky not to concede a penalty for his third yellow card indiscretion. It was no wonder he was replaced at the interval. Son, on the other hand, uncharacteristically imploded and gave the referee no alternative than to invite him to have an early bath.

The second half started with Eric Dier’s replacement Foyte over running the ball and planting his studs into his opponents knee. Another simple decision for the Craig Pawson. Spurs now down to nine men and their lack of discipline didn’t end there. Dele Ali raised his hands in another melee but yellow was deemed to be suffice.

Spurs travel to Valencia on Wednesday and repeat of this indiscipline will surely end any chance of turning the tie around.

Talking about whining or as they call it in tennis “Grunting”, a new study has revealed the so called “Grunt can impair an opponents ability to judge the trajectory of the ball.

The controversial feature of professional tennis, thought to have been initiated by Jimmy Connors in the 1970s – who famously once said he hated to lose more than he loved to win – has been blamed not only for spoiling some games, but also for influencing the results.

Maria Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, has been heard to shriek on court at 109 decibels, the point at which an average human experiences pain and the equivalent of standing 200 feet away from a jet aircraft taking off.

Former world champion Martina Navratilova has in the past said the excessive crepitations heard around court is “cheating pure and simple”.

The usually unflappable Roger Federer, Swiss winner of 20 single Grand Slam titles, is equally deuced: “I’m OK with it to a certain level, but I don’t like it if it’s too loud or it’s used in key moments,” he has admitted.

“That becomes unsportsmanlike.”

Rafa Nadal relaxes during a training session before competing in the Barcelona Open. April 23,  2019.
Grunter: Rafa Nadal CREDIT: ALEJANDRO GARCIA/EPA-EFE/REX/REX

For many years sports psychologists have been attempting to unravel the role of auditory perception in sport in a bid to discover exactly what impact grunting has.

Previously it was thought that the act of one player bellowing as the ball is struck simply distracted the opponent. But now a team of scientists from the Friedrich Schiller University, in Jena, Germany, suggest there is more at play.

The scientists asked 31 club level tennis players to watch video clips taken from the 2012 Barcelona Open finals between Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer.

After watching a shot and hearing the accompanying grunt, the observers had to predict the ball’s trajectory and indicate where it would land. They were not told that the scientists were manipulating the volume of the grunts.

Jimmy Connors in the 1991 US Open.
Jimmy Connors in the 1991 US Open. CREDIT: FOCUS ON SPORT/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

The results showed that the tennis players were pretty accurate when it came to estimating the lateral variation of the resulting bounce, but consistently over estimated the length of the opponent’s shot after a particularly full-throated snarl.

The louder the grunt, they seemed to reason, the harder the shot, with a consequent incorrect prediction of where the ball would land. Tennis players should take note: to take the advantage, one should make a right old racket.   

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