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Daily Bagel: Roger Federer caught off guard by his missed backhand

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

• Video: Roger Federer is just as shocked at his backhand shanks as we are.

• Here’s how Steve Tignor saw David Ferrer’s upset of Rafael Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday.

Rafa was uncharacteristically subdued throughout, and he saved his worst, least confident tennis for the most crucial 10 minutes of the match, the first-set tiebreaker. Hanging his head and playing tentatively, he virtually conceded the breaker after falling behind early. At 1-4, Nadal had a chance to take a rip at his favorite shot, an inside-out forehand, from on top of the baseline. Instead, he tried to thread a risky drop shot; too risky, it turned out, as the ball caught the tape and fell back. The shot selection, the execution, the demeanor: None of it was what we’ve come to expect from Rafa at these stages.

What we usually expect from a match between these two is an elemental battle of wills. Ferrer grinds, until you think no one could possibly have the mental endurance to stay with him—nobody except Nadal, that is. Rafa’s superior shotmaking always gives him the last word. Today, though, Nadal didn’t have those shots; he finished with 24 winners and 44 unforced errors, his backhand was short and often shanked, and at the moment in the first set when he appeared ready to come up with something special, he came up with something pedestrian instead.

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  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Rafael Nadal wins his 300th match on clay

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

    • Video: In honor of Rafael Nadal’s 300th clay win, here is a song dedicated to him called “Vamos Rafa.”

    • Behind the numbers: Rafael Nadal got his 300th win on clay today.

    • Nick Bollitieri tells The Telegraph that winning Wimbledon with Andre Agassi was his greatest tennis memory.

    “He called me about four days before the tournament and said: ‘Let’s go to Boca Raton to practise’. He had a girlfriend there, Wendi. We played golf, hit with [Robert] Seguso for 30 minutes.

    “Then we got to England and he gave a clinic. They said ‘Andre, where you been?’ He said ‘I been practising for two weeks.’ We hadn’t hit one ball on grass, but he went on to win the title.

    “He had the ladies from England trying to buy those short shorts for Chrissakes. He turned the crowd on, he really did. He had a way, man. He had ‘em jumping, man. When he retired at the US Open, the concession stands stopped to hear his speech. Everybody stopped. Not many people can do that.”

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Does Rafael Nadal try to catch Teymuraz Gabashvili’s racket?

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

    • Video: Was Rafael Nadal trying to catch Teymuraz Gabashvili’s racket here? Or was he so focused on tracking the ball that he didn’t see the racket flying in the air until the very last minute?

    • Roger Federer says he’ll skip out on tennis if needed so he can be at Mirka’s side for the birth of their next child. Federer hasn’t revealed the due date to the media, but the Federers announced that Mirka was expecting at the end of December, which means she may deliver sometime around the French Open and Wimbledon.

    It’s a priority for me trying to be there, trying to support my wife,” Federer said Wednesday at the Monte Carlo Masters. ”I’ve played enough tennis matches. Missing a tournament or missing a match wouldn’t change anything for me.”

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Dominika Cibulkova chooses Malaysian Open over Fed Cup

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

    • Video: Tommy Robredo’s 31-year old legs can still motor through the dirt.

    • While her Slovakian teammates are playing in the Fed Cup this week in Quebec, Dominika Cibulkova chose to fly all the way to Kuala Lumpur. She was also pleased that after finally breaking into the top 10, she didn’t have to answer questions about her inability to do so.

    “Finally, I am in the top 10 and don’t have to answer questions about it.

    “Of course, I want to go further as I am playing good tennis. I am ready to do better,” said Dominika.

    “I will take it one match at a time but of course, I am going to do 100 per cent here,” said Dominika, who turned professional in 2004.

    Dominika said she is still jet-lagged but hopes to overcome it before her first round match.

    “So far, it has been terrible as I travelled from the US, so it was not easy waking up in the morning today.

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  • Published On Apr 15, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Caroline Wozniacki goes back to blonde at the Masters

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

    • Video: Fernando Verdasco does the traditional Houston victory celebration: Cannonball!

    Caroline-Wozniacki-8

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  • Published On Apr 14, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Women hog storylines for upcoming clay-court season

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

    • Video: The ATP previews the clay-court season, which is just around the corner.

    • Peter Bodo for ESPN previews the clay-court season, which offers more storylines for the women than the men.

    The women are loaded with players who enjoy the clay and know how to play it, like the those mentioned above.

    And let’s not forget that the winner in Monterey, Calif., (a last lingering hard-court event) last week was former French Open champ Ana Ivanovic. The women’s tour is chockablock with contenders on clay. [Jelena] Jankovic has been No. 1 in the world and, like current No. 3 [Agnieszka] Radwanska, she’s been a Grand Slam finalist.

    Should Serena Williams surrender the stranglehold she has on the WTA tour in the coming weeks, it’s really impossible to say who, if anyone, might take her place. No. 2 Li Na has been more consistent than ever in recent months, but she’s wandered off-script before. Victoria Azarenka has been out with a foot injury, and she’s not due back until Madrid in early May; who knows how long it will be until she’s match tough again? Maria Sharapova, down to No. 8, hasn’t made a final this year.

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  • Published On Apr 11, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Maria Sharapova gets into the makeup business

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

    • Video: Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Serena and Venus Williams, Usain Bolt and Tiger Woods as children.

    • Sharpova is now the co-owner of Supergoop (no really, that’s the name) a cosmetics company focused on reducing skin damage.

    Her desire to spread awareness about sun damage, especially skin cancer, the most prevalent – and preventable – of all leading cancers, dovetailed with the company’s mission.

    One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

    “If there was a cream you could put on your body that would prevent women from having breast cancer you can imagine how incredibly popular it would be,” said Sharapova, who learned from her mother the importance of using sun protection after a childhood spent mostly in sun-baked Florida.

    “I think the voice that I have can be quite powerful in this category,” added Sharapova, who turns 27 this month.

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  • Published On Apr 10, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Stephens crashes out of Bogota to No. 129-ranked Duque-Marino

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

    • Video: Novak Djokovic practices in Monte Carlo with his new puppy, Tesla.

    • Result: Sloane Stephens lost to No. 129 Mariana Duque-Marino 6-3, 6-3 in her first match in Bogota.

    • Jerzy Janowicz lashed out at reporters after Poland’s Davis Cup loss to Croatia.

    After being interrogated by journalists at a press conference after the match on Sunday, Janowicz lost his temper.

    “Who are you to criticize us?” a clearly upset Janowicz from Lodz in central Poland said, before going on to slam the sports system in the country and Poland in general.

    “Poland is a country that has no prospects in sport, business or private life. Kids go to college just to get out of the country,” a bitter 23 year-old Polish No. 1 said.

    “We train in sheds. So why do you have such high expectations of us?”

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  • Published On Apr 09, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: Actor Kevin Spacey a self-proclaimed Andy Murray ‘groupie’

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

    • Video: Gael Monfils smacks a forehand winner.

    • In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Kevin Spacey describes himself as an Andy Murray “groupie.”

    We pull up to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden a little after 11 a.m., and Spacey sorts through a collection of VIP badges. He has been told that a seat in Murray’s box, where he has sat before, isn’t available because Murray’s coach, girlfriend and hitting partners are in it; but he’s offered the next best thing, Box 117, close enough to make eye contact, if ever Murray were to break focus. “I’ve often thought about whispering to him, ‘Keyser Soze is behind you,’ ” jokes Spacey, referring to the villain character in the 1995 thriller The Usual Suspects who won him his first Oscar. At least I think he’s joking. The delivery is so deadpan, it’s hard to be sure.

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  • Published On Apr 07, 2014
  • Daily Bagel: The best (worst?) insults from tennis players

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

    • Video: Roger Federer with a perfect backhand flick lob and anticipation at the net in his straight set win over Mikhail Kukushkin today at Davis Cup.

    • The Tennis Space has collected some of the best (worst?) insults levied by tennis players.

    Andre Agassi on Pete Sampras:

    “Pete sounds more robotic than a parrot. I envy Pete’s dullness. I wish I could emulate his spectacular lack of inspiration, and his peculiar lack of need for inspiration.”

    What Anna Kournikova said to Martina Hingis after losing 6-0 6-0 to her at the junior US Open:
    “You won, but I’m prettier and more marketable than you.”

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  • Published On Apr 04, 2014


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