The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Bernard Tomic is looking great in Sydney, where he’s in the final of the Sydney International. Too bad he drew Rafael Nadal in the first round of the Australian Open.
• Tomic has a complicated relationship with the Australian public, as Gerard Whately of Fox Sports and the (Melbourne) Herald Sun details:
Harbour misgivings about a lack of progress and wavering commitment in a stuttering 12 months? You’re a hater.
Wonder about a man in a souped-up car disdainful of authority with a penchant for hyped-up schoolies? Miserable little people.
Repulsed by a father and coach who would punch a training partner, face assault charges and be deemed unfit for the professional tour? Tall poppy syndrome.
Win and they’ll zip it. That’s the equation by which Bernard Tomic measures the world.
Above anything else it shows how little he understands the field he’s chosen.
• Huge props to 107th-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, who won eight matches in eight days as a qualifier to win her first title at the Sydney International. This was no cakewalk. She beat three top-10 players to do it: Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber in the final. And she did it all without dropping a set. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in tennis who isn’t happy for the veteran, who had been known more as a grass specialist. Read Matt Cronin’s dispatch for TennisReporters.net from the final here.
• Great read from Linda Pearce for The Age as she sits down for a chat with Roger Federer and Rod Laver. From Federer:
“It’s already started well in Brisbane and then hopefully all the way to Miami I’ll have a better idea of where I am exactly, and I can maybe assess really where I want to take this season. But as of now, rankings, it’s important for me to stay where I am – move up, move down a little bit, doesn’t matter much, as long as I keep a solid ranking.
“And then stay healthy and play good tennis and play the right way in particular, not play a passive, scary sort of tennis. I want to play the free-flowing tennis I know I can play, the transition game, and then I think many things are possible. Of course, I wish I could have won Brisbane, because that would have been a perfect start to the season, but it’s been OK.”
• The Italian Grifter? SI’s Jon Wertheim reports on Camila Giorgi, the Italian who made a big splash at last year’s U.S. Open, who has left behind a long trail of disgruntled investors.
By January 2013 the Giorgis were living in Florida, and they showed up at a tennis academy owned by Pablo Arraya, a former pro from Peru and the first player to lose to Andre Agassi at a Grand Slam tournament. Like so many before him, Arraya was seduced when he watched Camila play. Arraya agreed to provide Giorgi with coaching, use of his facilities and “whatever else she needed to succeed.”
Arraya says Sergio vowed, “Whenever we can pay you back, we’ll do it.”
Arraya says he has yet to receive payment. And he’s OK with that. “I’m not dramatic about money,” he says. “Maybe she can do a fair exchange, come back [to the academy] and do a clinic for the kids or something.” Arraya says he enjoyed working with Camila: “I really like her as a player but also as a person. She is really adorable, and I’m happy to see her doing well.”
He is less complimentary about Sergio. “He’s rough,” says Arraya. “When you write about them, make it 99 percent his fault.”
Owen sees it differently. “They ripped me off the way they ripped off all these other people and figured it would go away,” he says. “People say, ‘Oh, it’s the dad.’ But she’s 22 years old.”
• Interesting observations in this piece from Christopher Clarey for The New York Times on the recent trend of former champions entering the coaching game.
“These are the first group of guys coaching who are independently wealthy and who don’t need the work,” said Courier, 43. “They are choosing it because they want to, not because they need to, and that’s an interesting distinction.”
But the buying power of this wealthy generation of current stars is certainly considerable. “Maybe the fellows are opening their pocket books a lot more,” Gilbert said. There are also potential brand-building benefits to coaching a leading light in this era, as Lendl has made clear.
• Billie Jean King talks about her role at next month’s Sochi Olympics.
• Andy Murray has trademarked his name.
• More on Murray: Everyone in Melbourne is keeping an eye on his back.
• From The Tennis Space: Why it’s more important to be a better returner than server on the ATP.
• Juan Martin del Potro is down to his last two Wilson rackets.