The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Merry Christmas, everyone.
• In this Q&A, Lleyton Hewitt spills the beans on his relationships with fellow ATPers. He no longer speaks to David Nalbandian, and he says Roger Federer keeps his distance from the rest of the tour.
But there was some genuine heat with the likes of David Nalbandian and (Juan Ignacio) Chela?
It all started from Chela actually. When I beat Nalbandian in the Wimbledon final [in 2002] we were fine and used to practice together. I played Chela at the Australian Open [in 2005] and he spat at me. He got frustrated with me revving the crowd up and saying “C’mon”. At the time I did not do much about it but my coach Roger Rashid went ballistic in the locker room at Chela, his coach and his trainer. It was funny but that got back to the other Argentinean boys.
Two matches later I played Nalbandian in the quarterfinals on Australia Day. I won the first two sets and lost the next two and in the middle of the fifth set we bumped shoulders. It was not a big thing but Nalbandian turned around as if to say “what have you done?” We both could have stopped but we just kept walking. I won 10-8 in the fifth and have never spoken to the bloke since.
What’s Roger Federer like?
A good guy but no one is really close to him. He keeps his distance from everyone. But I have always got on with him extremely well.
• Perhaps the most disheartening thing about the debate surrounding Taylor Townsend is the focus on weight or “shape” rather than fitness. Ana Konjuh, the 14-year-old Croat who won this year’s Orange Bowl, says Townsend has to lose weight to get better. Townsend’s mother, Shelia, says it’s about being healthy, whatever shape that means.
Her mother said: “When Serena [Williams] came out, to have somebody who looks like her in every way — body shape and ethnicity — and has gone through similar experiences, it resonated a lot with Taylor. Taylor’s never going to be a size 5, and that’s O.K. We just want her to be as strong and as healthy as she can be, where her body can perform at an optimal level. What it looks like at the end of the day, that’s what it is.”
• Great post here at Let, Second Serve, about the drama surrounding the Israeli Fed Cup team. One of the players, Deniz Khazaniuk, criticized Israel’s No. 1, Shahar Peer, to the point that Peer threatened to sue her for libel. The two played each other just a few weeks ago and Peer refused to shake Khazaniuk’s hand, choosing instead to shout that she’s a “disgrace to the State of Israel.”
• Heather Watson tells The Telegraph that it’s lonely on the WTA Tour.
• The Changeover breaks down the good, the bad and the random of the 2012 ATP Masters 1000s.
• Non-tennis: Panda cub hugging a ball. Happy holidays, everyone!