The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Get to know Victoria Duval. She’s the story of the week so far.
• From Slate, a fantastic collection of old photos from the U.S. Open.
• Watch this: A new ESPN 30 for 30 short film, Arthur and Johnnie, a first-person account by Arthur Ashe’s brother Johnnie, who volunteered to take Arthur’s place in the Vietnam War so Arthur could stay home and play tennis.
• USA Today‘s Doug Robson has a great piece on gamesmanship in tennis.
Don’t count on the U.S. Open fortnight passing without plenty of toilet timeouts. Grand Slam rules permit two restroom visits per match, which must be taken on a set break.
For some, that’s two too many. Former top-five player Brad Gilbert says that he contested more than 800 matches on tour and never once left the court to relieve himself.
“If you have to go to bathroom,” says Gilbert, an ESPN commentator and coach, “it’d better be because of the runs.”
What really gets under players’ skin is the time it takes for players to do their business and return to the court.
“You get cool,” complains former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia. “You get stiff. Then you can’t put the ball in. It’s like another match. I need another warm up.”
Jankovic, who says she has been kept waiting for up to 20 minutes, is in favor of a time limit.
“You’re going to pee for 10 or 20 minutes?” she says. “Who does that?”
And don’t get Tom Gullikson started on excessive towel use.
“I understand the physical points,” says former U.S. Davis Cup captain Gullikson, who played 11 years on tour. “I get it in places like Cincinnati. But going to the towel at Wimbledon when it’s 65 degrees and you’ve just hit an ace? It’s like a pacifier.”
• Australian Casey Dellacqua and her longtime partner welcomed a baby boy recently.
• Tom Perrotta of The Wall Street Journal on the USTA’s strategy change after years of failure in developing talent.
And after six years of rapid turnover among players at the USTA academy and many complaints—including one lawsuit—from players and parents who say the program is too harsh, the USTA has decided to change strategy.
Next year, just three players will live in the academy’s dormitory, down from a high of 18 in 2009.
“Maybe they were too young, maybe they weren’t ready for being away from home,” said Patrick McEnroe, the general manager of the USTA’s player-development program who lobbied for the full-immersion approach. “We’re starting to pull back in that direction a bit.”
The USTA says the budget will remain the same and the academy will offer full-time training to players who live nearby, but the USTA will devote more of its resources to players who visit periodically and then return home to their own coaches.
There is no consensus on the best way to mold young tennis champions: The process is handled differently all over the world. But in interviews, more than a dozen parents, players and coaches who were associated with the USTA’s elite program characterized the camp as a stressful place where players were subject to unreasonable expectations and lived in fear of losing scholarships if their results slipped.
“They are almost training these kids like they are running out of time,” said Zaza Corinteli, whose son, Luca, left the program last year. “You have a lemon in front of you, you squeeze all the juices out, then you put it in the garbage can. It just feels like there is very little regard.”
• The Russian tennis players know better than to speak out against President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay policies.
• It’s easy to forget that Tommy Haas is actually the highest-ranked American thanks to his dual citizenship. He continues to play for Germany because he doesn’t want the negative press that would come with a switch.
Haas moved from Germany to Florida in 1991. His daughter, Valentina, 2, was born in the United States and his fiancée, Sara Foster, is American. While John Isner of North Carolina has cracked the top 20 since then, Haas, who continues to represent Germany, said that he was fine with anyone who wanted to consider him an American player.
“It’s up to reporters here in the U.S., and if you look at it that way, if you think I’m also representing the U.S. flag even though it’s not there,” said Haas, who beat Paul Henri Mathieu of France, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1, on Tuesday in the first round of the United States Open. “In many ways I feel like I am, so maybe you guys should, too.”
• Non-tennis: Was Miley Cyrus’ much-discussed performance at the MTV Video Music Awards actually social commentary?