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The ladies -- that's what all the grunting, hard-serving women with the sculpted bodies continue to be called at Wimbledon -- only compete in best-of-three matches in Grand Slam events while the gentlemen must extend themselves to best-of-five.

Less pay for less work, that's what the All England Club pooh-bahs say.

To which we reply, Hey, why not?…

; The men would disagree.

They enjoy exercising their libido, even if they require intravenous fluids afterward. Shriver called it "the endurance ego."

The problem is, five-set matches are almost as taxing on the spectators as they are on the participants. Scanning the crowd during the Kratochvil-Henman match, we saw a man with his chin on his chest. He was deep in repose or REMs, one or the other.

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The best-of-five format, CBScommentator Pam Shriver said, "creates incredible problems" for television. And television is, for better or worse, the way to market the sport to the masses and grow the game.

The men's game is in need of tweaking when it can't pique the interest of someone with a proprietary interest in the sport. "I don't really watch men's tennis (now)," said Williams, who grew up admiring Pete Sampras' game. "For me, it's a little long."

Karen Crouse

Cox News Service

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