The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: One last look at the 2013 Australian Open. Not as wacky as past Opens but still plenty wacky enough.
• Fox Sports Australia reports that Bernard Tomic was caught speeding yet again in Gold Coast, Australia, and will lose his license. And here I was getting used to Tomic’s making headlines for his tennis.
• Grantland’s Brian Phillips with the perfect take on Andy Murray:
Here’s the conundrum of Andy Murray: I absolutely believe that he’s the second-best tennis player on earth right now. I absolutely believe that he meant it when he said he was “ready for pain” against [Novak] Djokovic. And I believe he was sincere about not blaming the blistered foot for his defeat. However, I am also fully prepared to believe that, in that tiebreaker, at that particular moment, he was psychologically shattered by the unexpected appearance of a small feather. Note that I’m not saying he’s mentally weak. He probably would have reacted coolly and intelligently if zombies had come pouring onto the court. He’s great in unpredictable conditions — he won the first set against [Roger] Federer at Wimbledon and the whole U.S. Open partly because high winds played to his ability to improvise. It’s more that his brain is just tricky. Weird stuff can make it feedback-loop. Sudden appearance of North Korean paratroopers, he’s fine; tiny fluttering feather, maybe not so much.
• Also for Grantland, Louisa Thomas examines the personality clash that took place during the Australian Open women’s final. Here’s her take on Victoria Azarenka:
She has been alone for so long. She had to become comfortable just to survive. “You know, when I came first on the tour I kind of was lost a little bit,” she said on Saturday night. “I didn’t know how to open up my personality. It’s very difficult when you’re alone. I was independent since I was, you know, 10 years old. I went first time to the states when I was 10 years old.” There’s nothing particularly unique or special about this part of her story, of course. Countless people learn to take care of themselves. The difference is that she managed to turn that fortitude into a quality that helped her become the best in the world at what she does.
• In the same vein, Steve Tignor breaks down the women’s final. Enjoyed this observation about Li Na:
[Y]ou could understand Li’s appeal by watching how she took this very tough loss. The tears were real, but the smiles were as well. She’s an athlete who reminds us that tennis can be emotional and crushing in the moment, but is still just a game in the long run. Li isn’t always strong when she plays, and she showed that again tonight when she tightened up. But in her larger perspective, in the way she laughed off her head-bruising fall and looked forward to better things in Paris, she is strong. Her humor is strength.
• The Economist looks at tennis’ medical-timeout system to determine whether it needs fixing and if so how. It’s not an easy solve.
The only obvious costs of taking unjustified injury timeouts are reputational: those suspected of bending the rules may lose public support, the respect of fellow professionals, and possibly endorsement opportunities. But given the huge financial rewards from winning top-flight matches, this isn’t necessarily an effective deterrent. If Ms Azerenka did indeed feign her injury, she might feel it was well worth it.
• Embedded in this Tennis.com post by Jonathan Scott is a breakdown of the social media figures for the four Slams. The U.S. Open has some work to do. Those are some mediocre numbers:
Australian Open — Facebook: 894,396; Twitter: 156,613
French Open — Facebook: 573,503; Twitter: 219,248
Wimbledon — Facebook: 1,061,310; Twitter: 399,210
U.S. Open — Facebook: 746,364; Twitter: 190,573
• From The Paris Review, an ode to the the trusty Prince Thunderstick and Rafael Nadal’s Babolat.