Daily Bagel: Appreciating the 'Golden Era of tennis'
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Serena Williams talks with Hannah Storm before the U.S. Open. She begins her campaign today. On her French Open loss, "It was the best loss I've ever had in my career. It started as my worst but it ended up being the best loss of my career."
• Doug Robson takes a look at this "Golden Era of Tennis". As Darren Cahill says, to truly appreciate it you need to ignore the ball:
"I would say, buy a seat right behind the court and look at the way these guys open up a tennis court," ESPN's Darren Cahill says. "Look at how big they can make it feel for their opponent. The angles they can create are much more than we could 15-20 years ago, primarily because of the string." Better yet, the former pro from Australia says, don't focus on the ball zinging back and forth. Isolate on one player and watch footwork, the stopping and starting, the full-body effort in every stroke, the ground covered in a single point. Watch how players, through defensive dexterity, have both expanded and contracted the dimensions of the court. Winners must find slivers of space. Winning a point demands grinding patience.
• In light of last week's news regarding Lance Armstrong, Steve Tignor says we shouldn't dismiss the possibility that there's a reason these guys are so good:
The reason why I wouldn’t dismiss the idea of tennis players taking PEDs isn’t because of their builds or their stamina or their dominance or their titles or their improvement from one month to the next. It’s simply because they’re athletes, and humans.
• Venus Williams introduces CNN to her EleVen fashion line:
The former world No. 1's passion, fashion, is also on the upswing following the recent relaunch of her label EleVen at an event in New York -- which also hosts the U.S. Open. "EleVen is about being better than a 10," said the current world No. 47. "So it's about being a personal best, it's about not accepting any limits, that anyone puts on you or that you can even put on yourself, because sometimes we do. It's about expressing yourself for who you are. So EleVen means a lot of things but it just means bringing out the best in you.
• More journeymen blues. Australia's Sam Groth writes about what it's like to be ranked No. 256 in the world. Through 13 tournaments he's made just over $20,000 this year:
There's talk about a player boycott of next year's Australian Open. The grand slams are important events that generate significant revenues, and the players who perform there should share in an acceptable percentage of those revenues. That view is supported by the playing group - from the very top to the bottom. The issue is not confined to the majors, though. There hasn't been a prize money increase at Futures tournaments - which sit below the Grand Slams, ATP Tour events and Challengers - since they started in 1998. I don't have anything against the top guys earning big dollars, because they are the guys who put this sport on the map and bring the crowds through the gates, but they all started at the lowest level, and so will the players who succeed them.
• Everybody's talking about money these days: A year on, the USTA is still embroiled in a lawsuit brought by umpires regarding wages. The U.S. Open has the lowest umpire wages of all the Slams:
The umpires receive between $115 and $250 per day, depending on their U.S.T.A. certification levels. An article in The New York Times last year reported that the United States Open offered the top umpires the lowest compensation among the Grand Slam events. The lawsuit, filed last September, claims the umpires are entitled to employee status and overtime pay for late matches, which sometimes end after midnight with no additional compensation.
• Non-tennis: Amazon customers review "Bic for Her," a pen designed for women. Hilarity ensues. 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.