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Daily Bagel: Maria Sharapova’s father made final phone call to Jimmy Connors

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

• Video: Here are your hot shots from the Western & Southern Open.

• Matt Cronin reports that Maria Sharapova’s father, Yuri, played a big role in the hiring and firing of Jimmy Connors. He’s the one that placed the phone call to let Connors know it was over.

• In other major coaching news, Sam Stosur has split with Dave Taylor. She’ll work with former player Alicia Molik in the interim.

• Novak Djokovic is the second player to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

• Rafael Nadal is in very good position to end the year at No. 1.

• Victoria Azarenka put on a show during her semifinal win over Jelena Jankovic in Cincinnati. However, Azarenka said she wasn’t even aware that she does this during matches.

“I actually heard that from my boyfriend for the first time, and he said, Why do you stick your ass out when you play?  I said, well, I don’t do that.  He’s like, Yeah, you do.  Like what?  He’s like, Yeah, you do that, and he was trying to imitate me. I really don’t notice that when I do that.  It’s just reaction.”

• Peter Bodo on Serena’s Struggles vs. Serena’s Triumphs.

I don’t really see “revenge,” per se, as a terribly important motive for Serena as the Open approaches, not even after the Cincinnati final. That’s partly because it must be somewhat difficult to develop a serious disdain against a woman who’s won just three matches in 15 tries against you, but also because Williams genuinely seems to like Azarenka. As Serena said after the match:

“I’m a big Victoria fan. Whenever I’m not at a tournament, I root for her. . . she’s just so professional and so nice. I mean, I really get along with her.”

Of course, you can create plenty of drama without dabbling in revenge themes, which may be the more pertinent factor as we roll on toward the final major of the year. With this loss to her closest rival, Serena has created as uncertain and tension-filled a scenario as anyone might have cooked up. That last year’s U.S. Open final between these two ended up with Serena barely scratching by—7-5 in the third, after Azarenka served for the title—ensures that people are going to dwell upon these last two matches to the exclusion of the 12 that came before.

Serena has had an outstanding year; she’s 60-4, with eight titles to her name. By contrast, Azarenka is 36-4 with just three titles. Each of the women has won one Grand Slam tournament in 2013, meaning that if one of them wins the Open, it will be very hard to resist declaring her the de facto No. 1 for the year.

• Non-tennis: From The New York Times: How New York City has changed in the 12 years under Mayor Bloomberg.

  • Published On Aug 19, 2013
  • 5 comments
    Janice1
    Janice1

    Just as well Connors was probably only interested in seducing Maria Sharapova.  The 3 first round losses under Connor's tutelage were 3 too many in the view of Mr. Yuri Sharapova.  Still behind the scenes doing the dirty work for his daughter.  The ones who don't have the guidance of their father's don't do as well as the ones who do.  Tennis fathers of teenage girls are always held in contempt & or always under attack by the media & the tennis world.  Truth is fathers are a big part of life on the tennis tours in men's tennis as well.  There are fathers in golf, football, baseball, tennis etc, etc,  The sports father is inherent to sport.  In tennis whenever a player's father is under attack for "abuse"  its often a smokescreen masking the sport's contempt for said players.  I'm always skeptical about abusive father cases like Tomic & Dokic when none of the parties involved are ever allowed a voice.

    serfan
    serfan

    I kinda of felt Serena choked in Cincinnati. I am huge fan of Serena's so I was shocked that she lost_

    I do not know why Serena likes Azarenka? I think she is a cheat as she shriks until her opponent is going to hit the ball I think she should not be allowed to scream like that.

    trilly3807
    trilly3807

    LOL at the story about Azarenka "putting on a show". 

    How many times have we seen the men bend BACK at the waist & sort of thrust their um, well, you get the idea. 

    It must be something in the human DNA.  ☺

    trilly3807
    trilly3807

    Serena HATES to lose as much as she LOVES to win. It is simply the competitor in her & part of what makes her a champion. It seems to me that if anyone has the luck to catch Serena on a bad day & win the match, well that player is in for a lesson on how to play tennis the next time they meet. 

    Vika is also a fierce competitor. I remember when she first came on the scene. Frail mentally & physically, she seemed destined to have a short career. But she didn't give up. (Although I do recall a story where her Grandmother told her she COULDN'T give up, that too much had been sacrificed for her to play). Vika got fit & she got mentally tougher. She is the only one on the tour that can truly threaten Serena. 

    I recall Serena referring to Vika as "my girl" (friendship, people!) during an interview once after Vika collapsed on court. Serena seemed genuinely concerned about her, so yes, I think there is a friendship between them. That doesn't mean Serena won't be oh-so-ready to play her again should they meet in the finals of the US Open. (After this year's Wimbledon, I'm glad it is not my job to predict winners!).

    Li Na has won a set or two off Serena, I think. But honestly, she looks terrified when she is on the other side of the net from Serena. With good reason perhaps, but Li Na is a pro! Maybe I am misinterpreting Li Na's game face, but I really felt bad for her during the Cincy tourny when she played Serena.

    Janice1
    Janice1

    @serfan   Serena also choked in the 2nd set at the 2013 U.S open. Had she not choked the match would've been over in 2 sets.  Serena was clearly the superior player.   She needs a sports psychologist and separate her personal feelings from her competitive will.  Every point Azerenka won came mostly from Serena making foolish mistakes hitting the ball back to her opponent or hitting it too short.  Serena was terrible at the net & was clearly rattled letting the wind, her dress & nerves stifle her concentration.  Still I'm surprised she pulled it off but glad she did!  That was close!  I noticed that her stomach was taped so Serena wasn't 100% even though she never made excused or let on that she wasn't 100%.  I hope she gets in the zone to win #18.