Thursday June 7th, 2012

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

• Video: Petra Kvitova gets grilled about her boyfriend in her Road to Roland Garros video.

• Peter Bodo looks at the state of French Tennis. This line made me laugh out loud.

If Mauresmo were, say, a Scottish lass who fared so poorly at Wimbledon, she'd be ground up and turned into ... haggis (there's that word again!). But in France, I suspect, she's celebrated for her "complicated Frenchness," or something like that.

• Over at Grantland, Reeves Wiedeman wonders why this generation's talented Frenchmen can't get it done.

"The problem in France is that ambition is not a compliment," [Phillippe] Bouin told me, between drags. "It's almost a bad word. 'Ha, look, he's ambitious.' So that's a very difficult situation for an athlete: As soon as you try to be ambitious you have people mocking you. For instance, we would never have made the war in Iraq. On the other hand, we may never win anything."

• Great read here from The Classical on Jean Borotra, the Frenchman who won 19 Slams and was called into duty to help France keep the Davis Cup out of America's hands.

On match point, he faults his first serve into the net. His second, a lazy lob, lands several inches over the service line. Allison sees it float out of bounds, bats it “idly far out of his opponent's court,” and throws his hands in the air. He’s outlasted the European legend, all but clinching the Davis Cup for his country. Except he hasn’t. The linesman—a man named Le Ferrier—does not raise his hand to signify a double fault. He alone thinks it landed in play. Whether Le Ferrier was excessively nationalistic or just cracked under pressure is unclear, but as Allison whacked his return yards out of bounds, the umpire has no choice but to announce deuce. It’s a devastating blow for the American, who “almost literally collapses” before hitting every single shot for the remaining three games out or into the net, dropping the final set 7–5. Thanks to a generous official and the heroics of an aging superstar, the Davis Cup would stay in the City of Light one more year.

Steve Tignor takes a look at the juniors as the boys' and girls' tournaments starts at Roland Garros. If you end up getting tickets to the later rounds, be sure to watch some junior tennis. I guarantee you walk away both impressed and wildly amused.

• Good read here on the dearth of female coaches in women's tennis. Nothing particularly in terms of explanation, but how about this quizzical line from Natasha Zvereva:

"I would prefer to have a male coach. Just like I would never go to female dentist if the choice was given."

• Novak Djokovic was slightly underdressed when he picked up his award at the ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday but I think he gets a pass on this one. He had just finished his epic five-set quarterfinal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

• Non-tennis: A look back at the best SNL Digital Shorts. 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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