{Empty title} | The Nation

Sexism on Centre Court? The traditional view that a woman can be athletic or sexy but not both is fading into oblivion as younger generations recognize that athleticism and skill are sexy. But an outstanding performer is exciting to watch even if you're not turned on: I'll happily watch a men's match if the players are good, but turn off a women's match if the players are poor. I watch sports I don't even care about if they're well played, and surf away from my favorite teams when they're playing poorly.

It's a shame the organizers of Wimbledon don't understand that what makes watching sports exciting is identifying with the players or teams. Every sports fan I know gets more of a charge out of identifying with a winner, or at least a highly skillful competitor, so watching a pretty loser like Kournikova is not much of a thrill.

If I were running Wimbledon, I'd put the most popular players on the show courts where their fans could see them. If that meant the pretty players were on the show courts more often (I'll wager the effect would be minimal), well, that's just business. Tournament organizers don't make fans' preferences, they cater to them. And they certainly aren't in the business of remaking society.

For me, the most exciting women's match this year was the semifinal between Dementieva and Serena Williams, until the very end when Dementieva lost her nerve and started making too many unforced errors. To Williams's credit, she showed more guts and determination, and that's the kind of character I want on my team. I don't fear successful women, I seek them out. Wimbledon would do well to adopt the same attitude.