The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta appeared on Italy’s version of Dancing With the Stars. It’s weird, but awesome.
• Peter Bodo wonders if this “Golden Era” of men’s tennis has created a boring sense of monotony.
Wimbledon this year underscored a few things for me, not least of which is that, as much as I enjoy the rivalries at the top of the men’s game, the fall off below the Big Four is becoming a bore. It’s so dramatic and has been proven so predictable that the women’s game as a whole is simply more interesting. I’ve wondered why.
If you happen to be one of those people who doubt that the game has changed all that much in the past decade or two, just consider the role reversal of the two tours. It used to be said that all the women seemed to play the same way, but now it’s the top men who have largely created a template for success. While it’s true that the women are loaded at the top (with Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka), they can’t hold a candle to the men in terms of overall superiority. The women have more formidable, proven contenders than do their male counterparts.
Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani, Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Bartoli (who declared for retirement shortly after she won Wimbledon, much to everyone’s surprise), Lisicki, Ana Ivanovic, Sam Stosur, and Svetlana Kuznetsova are all Grand Slam champions or finalists in the WTA Top 25. Counting the Top 3, the WTA fielded 14 proven contenders in the Top 25 in 2013.
Now, let’s compare the men: The top seven men all have played major finals, as has No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. But that’s it. Nobody ranked between 11 and 25 has made the breakthrough.
• Steve Tignor reviews the year in phrases.
• Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka will play an exhibition match in Thailand this month.
• Steffi Graf’s father, Peter, died of cancer over the weekend.
• Amanda Coetzer’s husband, Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, confirms that he was an Israeli spy and arms dealer. Milchan has produced Fight Club, L.A. Confidential and an Oscar favorite this year, 12 Years a Slave.
• Petra Kvitova and Radek Stepanek are officially public.
• Richard Gasquet has hired Sergi Bruguera as his new coach.
• Lleyton Hewitt won the Newcombe Medal, an award to the most outstanding Australian player of the season.
• Feliciano Lopez wants Twitter insults regulated. He also believes the governing bodies of tennis aren’t player friendly.
I think it’s impossible to have real change, and one that favors the players,” he said. “Tennis has a problem by the mixed set of interests that exists between those who rule. There are many organizations with too much power, and it is very difficult to get that many people to agree. The ITF, the ATP, players, agents, tournaments…You cannot fight for a cause if there are a thousand divided interests. And that’s f—ed.”
• The ATP highlights the best storylines from the doubles season.
• Milos Raonic was named the best Canadian athlete of the year.
• Non-tennis: Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno’s Pro Bowl-caliber tear ducts set to Whitney Houston.