PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Who knew that the the pitch of a tennis player’s grunt could determine the likelihood of said player winning the match?
No, this is not some superstitious ritual turned tennis lore. This is the conclusion of a new study, published in the August 2017 edition of the journal Animal Behavior.
University of Sussex researchers find grunts during tennis matches can be spot on predictors of whether or not a player will win. Players had higher pitched grunts during matches they lost compared to the matches they won, according to the study.
Analyzing 50 matches on video from the top 30 players in the world, Jordan Raine, one of the authors of the the study, said “shift in pitch is not due to short-term changes in scoreboard dominance, but instead, may reflect longer term physiological or psychological factors that may manifest even before the match.”
Raine added, “These factors could include previous encounters, form, world ranking, fatigue, and injuries.”
The study also found that tennis players could distinguish between grunts made by a player during a win and those during a loss.
So listen up the next time Wimbledon is on, you may just be able to impress fellow onlookers by predicting the matches blindfolded.