Leading article: Fair play, please

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The Independent Culture
THERE'S ALWAYS been a heart-throb at Wimbledon. In the recent past the men had Gabriella Sabatini to ogle, and teenage girls were panting at the sight of Andre Agassi's bare chest. But if memory serves us right, the ratio of tennis commentary to personal appearance has previously favoured the former. This year an invisible line seems to have been crossed.

Examples are easy to come by, from yesterday's Radio 4 Today programme, advising that "admirers of the human form, male or female, need look no further than Court Two where Anna Kournikova will be followed by Mark Philippoussis who will be followed by Venus Williams", to a mid-market newspaper's two-page spot-the-bottom competition.

We have no desire to be prudish. After all, those original creators of spectator sports, the Ancient Greeks, made copies in marble of athletes' bodies and depicted their gods in their image. They limited their athletes to men; our accomplishment is to give equal attention to the women. Now all that is needed is for Wimbledon to recognise that equal attraction deserves equal pay.

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