The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: TransWorld Sport with some great footage of a 16-year-old Rafael Nadal tearing the cover off the ball.
• Agnes Szavay, who reached a career-high WTA ranking of No. 13, announced her retirement at age 24 (link in Hungarian). A lingering back injury has kept her off tour for last few years. It’s a shame. A U.S. Open quarterfinalist in 2007, she was a talented player with a beautiful backhand.
• Former World Anti-Doping Agency head Dick Pound says tennis players’ changed physique over the years indicates the sport may have a doping problem. Citing changes in appearance is awfully dicey. Former players almost universally admit today’s players hit the gym harder than they did.
“It used to be fun during rain delays at Wimbledon to see matches of [John] McEnroe and [Bjorn] Borg of a few years ago,” says Pound. “They looked like little old men. Even [Ivan] Lendl, who was notoriously fit, would look like a little old man compared to these folks now, running, lunging, lashing for three hours at a stretch. Look at the difference in build and sustained level of activity. If the tennis authorities don’t believe there is EPO or HGA use now they are not paying attention.”
• Paul McNamee’s open letter to coaches is heavy with criticism of Tennis Australia’s system of employing an “army of coaches.”
Early last year, I was in discussions in relation to working with a talented Australian female player. It was early days and nothing had been consummated. However, wind of it reached TA. During an unrelated discussion I was having with a senior TA official, he said to me “I’ve heard that you might be working with such player. I’ve spoken to our guys and we’re not approving that”. Simple as that. In other words, the player’s financial coaching support package would be pulled. I replied “That’s where you’ve got it completely wrong. It should be the player’s decision, and mine, but not Tennis Australia’s!”
• It’s only Thursday, but there’s no way another tweet will beat Flavia Pennetta’s for Tweet of the Week:
• The ITF website has a Q&A with Christian Harrison, who won his first ITF Pro Circuit title in Sheffield, England, last weekend.
• The ITF has revised its dead rubber policy for Fed Cup ties. The Fed Cup rules now mirror those introduced in 2011 for Davis Cup.
• Non-tennis: Ryan Lochte recreated the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind. Um … j-no.