Wednesday April 18th, 2012

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

• Everyone has that weird uncle that loves harassing his nieces and nephews. But what if that uncle was Rafael Nadal? The ATP cameras caught Rafa horsing around with his young cousins before receiving a special award from tournament director Zeljko Franulovic commemorating his seven straight titles in Monte Carlo.

• False alarm: Maria Sharapova has not chopped off her golden locks. It was a wig. But in my defense, let me just say that is the best darn wig-job I've ever seen. Kudos to her hairdresser.

• You have to love this interview with Serena Williams for USA Today. She's obsessed with the Olympic pins, once out-negotiated famed lawyer Johnnie Cochran, and she'd love to be a rhythmic gymnast.

"For me a gold medal is a gold medal. This sounds weird, but if I had to choose just one, I would choose my doubles one with Venus. We shared so many great moments out there. I wouldn't trade that for a singles. I really wouldn't. I can't even describe the feeling. However, if I'm not getting gold in singles, I don't want the bronze. Believe me. Please."

•'s Bruce Jenkins has a great piece on the impact of Jennifer Capriati's roller coaster career on the WTA Tour.

In 1994, only months after the extent of Capriati's depravity went public, the women's tour changed its eligibility rules, limiting the number of tournaments players aged 14-17 could enter. As the WTA presses on into the heart of the 2012 season, we see no Capriatis, Andrea Jaegers or Mirjana Lucics, not in terms of a painfully young girl in free-fall descent. It's rare to find any teenagers in the top 100, and all of the tour's top players are seasoned, mature women with some perspective on life. It took some very harsh lessons to reach this point, none more severe than the one absorbed by Capriati herself.

• If you watch a lot of tennis, then you are familiar with Robbie Koenig, who provides commentary for ATP matches on TennisTV and the world feed that's typically broadcast on Tennis Channel. His enthusiasm for the sport is contagious and he's one of my favorites. Here's a solid profile on him.

• The French tennis federation will not grant an exemption to Marion Bartoli regarding her Olympic eligibility, which means the No. 7 player in the world won't be allowed to compete at the London games. Peter Bodo wrote up his thoughts on the issue, and I completely agree.

The FFT has the power to issue an exemption even to that anemic demand—in other words, the ITF rules are not in any way onerous. That the FFT chose not to exempt Bartoli is startling. It's mean. It's vindictive. And it's really, really stupid.

• A young Roger Federer with Jimmy Connors.

• Non-tennis (sort of): Check out this gallery of sports played in bizarre venues. Some great shots. 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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