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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: The old college try

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

• Bar Refaeli plays tennis in her underwear and throws in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it imitation of Rafael Nadal. You're welcome.

• John Isner is a great example of why college tennis is becoming a more appealing option for male players, as ATP Tour success is coming at a later age these days. From the Houston Chronicle:

And Isner, a career-high No. 10, is proud of the message his recent rise sends to high school kids contemplating pro tennis for a career.

"Nowadays, a lot of the good high school players are going to college, at least for one year," he said. "The game today is so physical, the average age for players inside the top 100 is, I think, 26 years old, and that's my age. It used to be back in the 90s where guys 18, 19 were winning huge events. That's not how it is anymore. The kids coming out of high school now aren't physically strong enough to compete on an equal basis.

"So, to me, going to college is obviously the right choice. You get great coaching and great competition, and you're going to have a good time on top of that. Those are years you can't get back. I mean, just go for one year (and) see how good it is."

Nadal and Novak Djokovic will play an exhibition at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on July 14, smack dab between Wimbledon and the Olympics. Real Madrid's stadium, which seats 80,000, could be host to the largest crowd to watch a tennis match. The record is 35,681, for a 2010 exhibition between Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels. Filling the Bernabeu even just halfway will top that, though I've been there and given its size, I'm not sure anyone will be able to see much of anything.

• IMG has agreed to buy the ATP and WTA Memphis tournaments and plans to move them to Rio de Janeiro. Here's some more detail on why the tournaments couldn't get enough traction to justify staying:

If they are replaced, as seems likely, by a "lower-level" pro tournament, the average fan, not to mention the non-fan, won't notice the difference. Case in point: Andy Roddick and Milos Raonic have been recent finalists in Memphis (a "500" tournament) and, a week earlier, San Jose (a "250" tournament). Above the satellite-tournament level, the strength of the field is determined by convenience as much as anything, and several big names have either failed to show up in Memphis or made an early exit.

• An injured Jack Sock is out of competition until July.

• Cute interview with Laura Robson and Heather Watson.

• Peter Bodo looks back on his many years covering the Orange Bowl, which once featured a young Roger Federer.

• Non-tennis: It's raining, cold and gloomy here in the Bay Area, which made this video about cat ennui even more poignant and hilarious.

See or read something that you enjoyed and want to share? Feel free to email or tweet us links to pieces from around the Internet that may have slipped past our radar.

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