The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Even his trophy-hoisting abilities are rusty: Rafael Nadal almost dropped the Brazil Open trophy on Sunday.
• Very interesting interview at The Tennis Space with David Howman, Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). He says he expects tennis will have a biological passport system by the end of the year, that people are naive if they think EPO wouldn’t benefit tennis players and that you don’t need a blood test to test for EPO. Here’s what he said about the prevalence of “silent bans,” i.e., players who test positive for doping entering into an agreement not to play a tournament for a specified amount of time:
It could have in the past, but not now. I don’t think there’s any cover-up going on now. If it’s a positive case, it goes into our system….I should pause…if it’s a positive case that doesn’t go into our system and somehow that there’s a deal (saying) ‘you just stand down for a while’, then we’d never know about it. The only way that could happen would be if there was a crook in the lab.
• Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times catches up with Canada’s Rebecca Marino, who left the game for seven months last year to escape a wave of cyber-bullying on Twitter. The worst vitriol came from bettors who lost money on her matches.
“They’ll say, ‘You gave that match away, you cost me such-and-such amount of money, you should go burn in hell,’ or ‘You should go die,’ ” Marino said. “And oh, my gosh, that is really scary.”
Gambling on tennis is common, opening professional players to social media abuse by bettors. “You know, there’s that saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,’ ” she said. “But that’s not true. Names definitely hurt. Words hurt.”
• Via The Slice, I’m still enjoying all the pictures and videos of Juan Martin del Potro chillin’ with Sesame Street’s Bert, Ernie and Elmo in Rotterdam.
• Simon Cambers, writing for Wimbledon.com, looks at how the ATP rankings have evolved over the last 40 years.
• Tennis Grandstand reports that Stanford standout Nicole Gibbs is 90 percent sure she’s turning pro this year. She’ll skip the French Open to play the NCAA championships and hopes Wimbledon will be her first professional tournament.
• Interesting bit embedded in this post at Women Who Serve about the media’s treatment of Victoria Azarenka.
I am outraged by the Tennis TV (later shown on The Tennis Channel) commentators. When a point was contested by Errani and the umpire (the same one who sat spinelessly while the Wozniacki clan acted out), revealed that she “couldn’t remember” where a ball landed, she called on Azarenka to help her out…. [I]f anyone else in the WTA or the ATP had been in her position, the commentators would have rushed to say “That’s not her job!” But because it was Azarenka, there was “discussion” over whether the Australian Open champion did the “right” thing when she declared she couldn’t answer the question.
Is there no end to the (sometimes veiled, but obvious to anyone who keeps up) hostility toward Azarenka? Will she ever stop being punished for having a personality that doesn’t conform to the standards imposed on WTA players? Will the sports media ever stop and think, or just continue to perpetuate the myth of “bad Vika”?
• The Double Bagel has a humorous examination of tennis-inspired looks at last week’s New York Fashion Week.
Richard Osborne of Tennisreporters.net talks to Steve Johnson about the difficult transition from college tennis to the pros.
“These guys, if you leave something hanging, you leave something short, they’re going to put the pressure on you and come in and hit winners,” he continued. “In college, you might get away with something short or put a ball where you don’t want to hit it. These guys will take any little mistake and put it down your throat. It’s tough, but that’s tennis. You learn from it and get better.”
• Non-tennis: The best thing I read on the Internet this weekend: The first comment listed in response to this Wired piece on how the Empire employed flawed military strategy which allowed the Rebel Alliance to win The Battle of Hoth. Yes, I really did type that sentence.