Daily Bagel: Nadal has mixed reaction to Australian Open’s “very fast” courts

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

• Video: Australian poet Rupert McCall wrote and performed a poem in honor of Roger Federer and Rod Laver called “The Masterpiece”.

Rafael Nadal was told the Australian Open courts were playing very fast. His response? “S***.”

Nadal first went with a bit of cheekiness: “How do you know that?” he inquired of Flatman. “You’ve been there?” Flatman responded by pointing to Australian colleague Leo Schlink, sitting to his left and saying that’s what he’s hearing from the Australians.

“Yeah? Very fast? Yeah? S***,” were the immortal words of Rafa, that sent the journalists laughing. “I thought (Australian Open tournament director) Craig Tiley was a good friend.

“Okay. Doesn’t matter. I won tournaments on very quick surfaces, Montreal few times, and if I’m playing well, it’s not a big problem, playing on very quick surfaces. But it’s true that if it’s very, very quick, maybe it’s a problem.”

Federer opened his 2014 win with a clean and decisive 6-4, 6-2 win over Jarkko Nieminen at the Brisbane International. It was an impressive display of hitting from Federer, who debuted his new Wilson racket as well.

A day after notching a 6-0, 6-0 win in 37 minutes, Andy Murray lost to Florian Mayer 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the Qatar Open. Unless Murray takes a wildcard into a tournament next week, he’ll go into the Australian Open with just two tour-level matches since September.

Congratulations to Ryan Sweeting and Kaley Cuoco, who got married on New Year’s Eve.

Some great pictures from the Hopman Cup Ball, featuring cleaned up versions of John Isner, Sloane Stephens, Eugenie Bouchard, Milos Raonic and more.

Jamie Hampton doesn’t mind flying under the radar, but she wouldn’t mind if you knew who she was.

Hampton is the third-ranked American behind Serena Williams (No. 1) and Sloane Stephens (No. 12) but further down in the profile stakes with the US public.

“It’s OK,” she said. “It has its advantages. No one really knows who I am so I can fly under the radar a little bit. I would like some exposure.

“Maybe not [as much as Venus Williams]. It comes with the territory. If I do well, I’m going to get more exposure and I will have to embrace it.”

Marin Cilic says new coach Goran Ivanisevic has helped simplify his game, particularly his serve.

“To simplify. Throw the ball in the air and hit it,” Cilic said of his compatriot’s advice to him. “For me before, I was a lot thinking about the serve. To be more relaxed, nothing unusual. But we worked a lot on it, and it seems that it fit in the right place. We worked a lot also on volleys, and of course game at the net where I had the most space to improve.  Last few years I was not doing too well at the net and I wasn’t playing as offensive as I would want to, the way I would need to play, like a taller player, to have shorter points and put more pressure on the other guy.”

From Caravaggio to John McEnroe, the tennis tantrum has died a slow death.

  • Published On Jan 01, 2014

    tournament director says courts are the same...

    Anyone expecting lightning-fast Australian Open courts will be disappointed, according to tournament director Craig Tiley, who has denied that a quicker version of Plexicushion has been ordered - or delivered - for next week's grand slam.

    Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Marin Cilic, as well as Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter, are among the players at this week's Brisbane International to testify that the speed of the Queensland Tennis Centre courts has risen significantly this year. Cilic, indeed, said they were the slickest he had experienced anywhere in more than 12 months.

    But, if so, that is Brisbane, said Tiley, who insisted nothing has altered at Melbourne Park. A modified Wilson ball was introduced last year with a tighter weave to improve longevity, but any major change in court speed is, apparently, unlikely.

    ''We've repeated what we did in 2013,'' said Tiley, pointing to the heatwave conditions and covered court in Brisbane, as well as the extended time given to the courts to ''plateau'' after their annual resurface, as contributing factors there. ''We didn't get that feedback at Hopman Cup, which is also the exact same surface.''


    Defending champion Novak Djokovic on Saturday became the first player to hit this season on Rod Laver Arena.

    Tiley said the world No.2 had not commented on the speed of the court, pace has been a recurring discussion point elsewhere in the past week.

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    As if we needed another hardcourt fast surface.9 months out of 12 in the calendar year are played on hardcourts and it is oh so out of all grand slams, the australian open is useless and doesn`t deserve to be grand slam.


    I hope they are faster - it will make a nice change from them continuously slowing every single court down. If true, not surprised that Nadal isn't too happy. It will help the more offensive players - i.e. Federer - hooray!


    Nadal complaining? Never. The funniest thing is recently he was denying that fast courts didn't suit him as much as slower courts do. His PR team need more consistency. 


    @1fed1Federer is an offensive player? Maybe a few years ago but one of the main reasons he's losing so much lately is that he's lost his speed on the court and isn't getting to balls as he used to. Turning 33 this year isn't going to help him.

    And Nadal was joking. He knows how often it is said he doesn't do well on fast courts no matter how often he states that he prefers faster courts to slower courts. The thing he doesn't like is a low bounce. He's won more than his share of matches on fast courts.