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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Jaeger helps in Newtown

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

• Video: What happens when two tennis legends try to hit the ball with their off hands?

• Former WTA No. 2 Andrea Jaeger, now a nun, was there to comfort the citizens of Dunblane, Scotland, when a gunman took the lives of 16 children in 1996. This weekend she drove to Newtown, Conn., to offer any help she could.

“They can’t believe that things will ever get better,” she said. “You have to make children, even children who have gone through something as horrible as this, believe that things will get better. It starts with giving them love."

• The Australian Open announced its prize money distribution and as expected, the bulk of the money is going to the first three rounds. While the singles champions will each receive a check for AUD $2,430,000, the early round losers will see a 30 percent or more rise in prize money. First-round losers get a 33 percent bump, second rounders are up 37 percent and third rounders are up 30 percent. The increases tail off from there, with the round of 16, quarterfinalists and semifinalists see a bump of around 14 percent. Good news for doubles players, though. First-round losers will get a 30 percent increase.

• Nice breakdown by The Tennis Space on how the Australian Open's move puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the other three Grand Slams.

• Andy Murray comes in at No. 4 on BuzzFeed's list of 21 Breakout Sports Stars of 2012.

• Unfortunate story on how Olympic tennis tickets were allocated. In some instances, only three percent of the tickets were made available to the public.

• TennisReporters.net finishes its review/preview of the WTA top five. Matt Cronin thinks that Maria Sharapova may have topped out in 2012.

Sure she can become better balanced, control her often blazing forehand more often, and get a better interpretation of her foes first serves, but is there really room for more than a 5% improvement in her game overall. Perhaps, but I don’t see it.

But let’s assume that she makes those improvements, which will put her in contention at every Slam. She could win two more next year (depending on Serena’s level, of course),  but I would be surprised if Generation Caro/Vika/Aga/Petra weren’t able to stay with her in 2013, and there are other young players who would like to try and run her ragged too.

• The Lawn Tennis Association is in hot water (again). This time, Sport England has cut its funding due to dropping participation numbers.

• Non-tennis: Great picture. And yes, I'm slightly biased.

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