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Daily Bagel: Serena’s ‘decent’ season

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The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.

• Video: The U.S. Open is less than four weeks away. Which means it’s time to wheel out the goosebump-inspiring U.S. Open “It Must Be Love” montage music.

• Serena Williams‘ take on her 2013 season, which has included seven titles (one being the French Open), a 51-3 record, a career-best 34-match winning streak and a fourth-round loss at Wimbledon: “decent.”

“Honestly, I would have preferred to do better in some tournaments,” Williams said in a conference call on Monday leading up to next week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto. “I need to do well in a tournament like Toronto to get ready for the last Grand Slam of the year and do really well there too.”

• Chris Wilkinson of ESPN UK wonders if Roger Federer is trying to go out like Pete Sampras.

Federer may not be the dominant force he once was, but he’ll keep going until his results warrant considering the end. As long as he has a shot at a grand slam title, he will be there. I think he’s now looking to emulate Pete Sampras’ final act – the American’s 2002 US Open triumph. Sampras was struggling by then as well, and had slipped outside of the world’s top 10. But at the age of 31 – the same age Federer is now – he summoned one last run at a major, beating Andre Agassi in the final to claim his 14th grand slam title. It was the last time he stepped on a tennis court as a professional, and he finally announced his retirement a year later.

It’s a big ask to expect Federer to follow suit, however. He’s got one or two more big tournament wins inside of him, but to win seven best-of-five-set matches over two weeks, and potentially having to beat the likes of Djokovic, Murray and Nadal in the closing stages – that’s all but a fact of life at the slams nowadays – is a monumental task. I’m not sure his body is up to the challenge any more.

The next six months will be crucial. If Federer continues to struggle, then Wimbledon next year could be a defining moment, perhaps – the ideal stage to take his final bow.

• Martina Hingis is set to take yet another wild card into a doubles event this summer, this time at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Here’s The New York Times piece on her comeback, which looks back on her two-year ban in 2007 for testing positive for cocaine.

Hingis was handed a two-year suspension and was barred from the grounds of all tournaments. She retired again the day the test result was revealed.

The ban lapsed in 2009, but it took a lasting emotional toll, said Lindsay Davenport, Hingis’s old rival and close friend.

“That definitely scarred her emotionally,” Davenport said. “That was not easy for her. And then to be not welcome in tennis for two years; you forget, you’re not even allowed to go watch. And that hurt her, deeply. And so I think when that was lifted, she wasn’t exactly ready to re-embrace the tennis world. It took her a little while to heal from those wounds and get to a place where she felt that she had moved past that.”

At a show jumping competition in 2010, Hingis met the French equestrian Thibault Hutin, and married him later that year. But the demise of their marriage has recently become tabloid fodder in Switzerland, proving a distraction that Davenport believes has further pushed Hingis toward a recommitment to tennis.

“I think the personal stuff that’s going on, getting divorced from her husband, I think she needs something else to focus on,” said Davenport. “And that’s been the tennis.”

• James Blake spoke about his decision to join Athlete Ally, an organization fighting homophobia in sports.

Honestly, I don’t have regrets in my career. But one regret I do have is that I wish I had more of a voice. I wish I had the titles of Andy [Roddick] or the fame and notoriety of someone more out there in the scene so I could have more of a voice. You know, I can’t worry too much about that. All I can do is use the voice that I have gotten with the wins I’ve gotten and with the position that I’m at in life. It’s something that I feel really strongly about and I’m happy to be a part of it.

• Catching up with Victoria Azarenka in Carlsbad, Calif., where she’s competing in her first tournament since injuring her knee at Wimbledon.

• Azarenka’s boyfriend, Redfoo, who is serving as a judge for The X-Factor in Australia, cried during a performance and implied that he’s going through some relationship issues.

• Non-tennis: Hope your Tuesday is better than this guy’s.

  • Published On Jul 30, 2013
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