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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Prince changed the game

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

• Given the current economic climate in Europe, it's funny that a week after we saw players speed along in Germany in Porsches, Estoril put their players on ... bikes.

• With Prince's impending bankruptcy (again, the racket manufacturer, not the one who makes doves cry), Steve Tignor looks back at the company's game-changing legacy:

Here was a bizarrely futuristic physical manifestation of the tennis boom, an invention that helped the millions of new players trying to learn the sport, but which was dubbed a “cheater’s racquet” by traditionalists. Pam Shriver changed all of that when she reached the final of the U.S. Open as a Prince-wielding 16-year-old in 1978. By the start of the next decade, Prince owned an astounding 30 percent of the U.S. racquet market. For all the talk we hear about spin-producing strings and ball-slowing surfaces today, that shift, to the bigger frame, is still the most seismic change of tennis' last four decades.

• Serena says she's not dating for the next decade, but her presence at Grigor Dimitrov's matches hasn't exactly gone unnoticed. Dimitrov was asked about their friendship and he obviously scoffed and put the kibosh on it, right? Not exactly. "Just go and ask her," he reportedly told Bulgarian reporters. Well that settles that.

• Here's what Maria Sharapova, Serena, Petra Kvitova, Li Na, and Julia Goerges will be wearing at Roland Garros.  Interesting note: Both Roger Federer and Sharapova will be kitted out in monochrome black. Foreshadowing?

• Lots of good quotes from various sources in Christopher Clarey's piece on the dissatisfaction with Madrid's blue clay. But the most interesting portion of the article for me was the description of Har-Tru, the green clay that's been used in the States and at tournaments such as Charleston.

It’s the natural color of the stone we mine here in Virginia, and that color is a little more of a gray green when it’s dry, but when you add water to it, it darkens up. It’s a very hard angular stone, harder than granite. It actually has the strength of an industrial diamond. That makes it real stable, and that’s part of the secret to why the court works. The angular hard edges don’t wear off when you slide on them and agitate them.

• Non-tennis: West Wing reunion! Let's walk and talk for old-time's sake.

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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