The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Benoit Paire does an interview in which he waxes poetic about Roger Federer, then he puts on a wig and stuffs marshmallows up his nose. Just another day in the life of Benoit Paire.
• Laura Robson threw out a bit of snark after her first-round loss to Caroline Wozniacki at the French Open.
• Andy Murray and a flaming racket land on the cover of UK’s July issue of GQ.
• I guess once you’re a professional, rain doesn’t exactly cancel practice:
• Lovely stuff from Joe Posnanski on why the first-round match between Venus Williams and Ula Radwanska was so compelling.
It’s not hard to understand why Radwanska kept playing forcefully — she has youth and ambition and a purpose. But with Venus, it was something else, something harder to describe, something that comes out of the red clay, which is why I love this tournament so much. The two of them kept hitting shot after shot after shot, angles, volleys, drop shots, lobs, slams. There were no easy points, no easy winners, no escapes, no breaks, no Hollywood moments. It was just body blow after body blow. Neither could give in. And, yet, neither could take control.
Wimbledon is fun to watch. The U.S. Open, with the raucous crowds and great night tennis, is fun to watch. The French Open, well, it’s not always fun to watch. This match was raw, painful and, at times, almost too close to real life. Venus Williams seemed to be aging before our very eyes.
• Nine of the 15 American women in the French Open draw are through to the second round, with three more vying for a spot Tuesday. That’s a solid showing, as ESPN.com’s Jim Caple noted.
[Bethanie] Mattek-Sands, who has been on the tour since 1999 when she was 14, was at a loss to explain the recent surge — “That’s a good question” — but a critical mass of young players making each other better might be part of the answer. For instance, [Madison] Keys, [Shelby] Rogers, Grace Min (who lost Sunday) and Jamie Hampton (who plays Tuesday) train together in Boca Raton, Fla.
“I just think we’ve all been working really hard and motivating each other while doing well,” Keys said. “There is a really good atmosphere right now.”
[Sloane] Stephens and others cited the atmosphere among the players as well. “We’re all pretty close,” Stephens said. “We all just want to get better and motivate each other. It’s a good thing.”
• Is the American women’s recent (and future) success the product of a system or just luck? Patrick McEnroe, head of player development at the USTA, obviously thinks it’s the system.
“We’ve seen in the history of tennis, when you get a good group of players, they tend to steamroll a little bit,” McEnroe said in a telephone interview. “We’re starting to see the beginning of that. Our main goal has always been let’s increase the numbers, and the great one will come. I don’t look at Switzerland, where they have one unbelievable player. I look at Russia on the women’s side, where they have tons of players in the top 100 and a few top players.”
• Marion Bartoli has hired Bernard Tomic’s former hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, for the same position.
• It’s not Sloane Stephens’ job to show off her great personality. But it would be nice if she did.
• Is there any better way to describe Gael Monfils’ five-set win over Tomas Berdych as a “come from ahead” victory?
• A writer and his son complete the “Career Fan Slam” and attend all four majors.
• Non-tennis: Hey, remember when Banana Republic actually sold safari gear and not merino sweaters?