The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray have won all eight of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament this year. Will Nadal or Djokovic make it a clean sweep this week in Bercy?
• Roger Federer says the people need to lay off Grigor Dimitrov’s “Baby Fed” nickname.
• This is a question that has no right answer: Who is the better racket-smasher: Ernests Gulbis or Benoit Paire? I’m going with Gulbis for the sheer rage of it all.
• Kei Nishikori ended Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s bid to make the ATP World Tour Finals. Nishikori saved two match points before defeating the No. 8 seed 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (7).
• Simona Halep: All she does is win.
• Nice insight into the Paris Indoor Masters and French tennis from Steve Tignor.
In the U.S., we like to say that the French men can’t win the big ones, and we’re right — it’s been 30 years since one of them won a Grand Slam. But what they lack in ultimate quality, they make up for with quantity and variety. Currently there are nine Frenchmen in the ATP’s Top 50, compared to just two from the States. More than that, though, the French have a knack for the game’s nuances. It runs in their blood; court tennis, the ancestor of lawn tennis, was invented in France. Perhaps to its detriment, France has developed few straight-ahead power players. But from the high-flying theatrics of [Gael] Monfils and Tsonga, to the baroque backhand of Richard Gasquet, to the all-court polish of Julien Benneteau, to the knuckleheaded flash of Benoit Paire, the French are always watchable. As long as you aren’t rooting too hard for them. Tuesday night we got a look at another young Frenchman, the intriguingly named Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The 22-year-old, ranked No. 189, had set points on Novak Djokovic in the first set before losing it in a tiebreaker.
The steady stream of recruits points in part to the popularity of tennis at the grass-roots level here. The club game thrives in France, and its instructors must pass a more rigorous test than their counterparts face in the States; hence the technical polish on so many of their players’ games. Unlike general-interest papers and magazines in the U.S., France’s national sports journal, L’Equipe, employs a stable of full-time tennis writers. And on the business side, it feels like Babolat and BNP Paribas have taken over the game. Tennis is entrenched deeply enough in France that the rest of us take the country’s interest in it for granted. That’s a nice luxury to have.
• Simon Cambers of The Tennis Space weighs in on why Victoria Azarenka’s reputation may have weighed on her mind in her decision to play through injury at the WTA Championships.
• Great gif of Juan Martin del Potro giving some love to a Basel ball kid in his own gentle giant kind of way.
• Architects are big tennis tennis fans because of the geometry and physics involved. Who knew?
• Non-tennis: In search of the hottest chili pepper.