The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: When Serena Williams is clicking, she makes tennis look easy. When she’s not, she makes it look downright impossible. Check out this game from her loss to Ekaterina Makarova at the Australian Open. Four double faults, two aces, two unforced errors and two winners. All in one game. That she lost.
• Rafael Nadal is already downplaying his chances at the Australian Open. Par for the course for Nadal. When has he ever admitted to expecting himself to win anything?
• David Ferrer was named Spanish Player of the Year by the Spanish tennis media. An understandable decision, but also a bit complicated given Ferrer isn’t even the Spanish No. 1. That distinction still belongs to Nadal, despite only playing half a season.
• Juan Ignacio Chela retired, joining Fernando Gonzalez and Gisela Dulko as three prominent South Americans to call it quits this year. With David Nalbandian getting up in years, it’s officially time to start worrying about the state of South American tennis.
• Great write-up on the “delightfully offensive” Yulia Putintseva. The 17-year-old is on the cusp of cracking the top 100 and should receive direct entry into the main draw of the Australian Open. Here’s hoping she draws a top seed so she gets on a TV court. Your life as a tennis fan is not complete until you see her yell, “DAVAI! COME ON! ALLEZ!” at anyone within earshot.
Yet, there is something comically Napoleonic about someone being so tiny yet so terrifying. She gives death glares to any linesperson foolhardy enough not to call the lines as she sees them. She celebrates even the smallest victories like a football fan in a sold-out arena. That level of excitement, I believe, can draw out even the most cynical of critics. Vera gets weepy, Victoria gets sarcastic, and Ana certainly fist pumps too much. But beyond all of that, Yulia gets positively enraged. And that makes her thoroughly entertaining.
• After a year in which he reached a career-high No. 28, Kevin Anderson has parted ways with his coach.
• Peter Bodo picks Laura Robson and Jerzy Janowicz as his Newcomers of the Year.
• Missed this Deadspin post the first time around: The Day Britain Finally Learned To Love Andy Murray For Andy Murray.
• Which teams do your favorite ATPers support? The BNP Paribas Open’s tennis blog has answers. I completely missed Murray finally admitting being an Arsenal fan.
• Li Na gets playful for Nike. The best part? She’s wearing her Kinesio tape for a photo shoot. You never know, Li. You never know.
• Non-tennis: You guys, Sunday’s episode of Homeland was the absolute WORST.