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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Catching up with Jimmy Connors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKwBCLhVt4E

• Check out this video of ATP Uncovered catching up with Jimmy Connors.

• Peter Bodo wonders whether Roger Federer's decision to play a limited schedule will backfire.

The pressure to perform at a high standard will only increase in direct proportion to the number of events Federer plays. He’s between a rock and a hard place: He may be happy to play just 14 tournaments (his schedule this year), which means that he’ll be playing four fewer events than the minimum requirement for mere mortals on the tour, those who haven’t earned similar exemptions. Every tournament will count toward his ranking, so one or two unexpectedly poor results will have an outsized impact on his position. And that means Federer could, at some point, end up meeting a Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal as early as the quarterfinals. (The latter came to pass at Indian Wells, when Nadal was ranked No. 5.)

Federer is, knowingly, taking a lot for granted—starting with his own superiority. Last year at this time, he’d already played seven events (including Davis Cup) and had accumulated 2,855 ranking points. This year, though, he’s eliminated three events (including Davis Cup) and has earned just 1,170 points.

Heather Watson has been diagnosed with mono. Given the illness' varied effects (Federer recovered, Robin Soderling has not), let's cross our fingers Watson comes out on the good side.

Coco Vandeweghe scored a big win over Marion Bartoli in the first round of the Monterrey Open. The two combined for 30 double faults.

• Nice interview from Lindsay Gibbs with Vania King, who beat good friend Yaroslava Shvedova in three sets in the first round of the Family Circle Cup.

"When you’re young, you go out there and you don’t have a lot of pressure,” she said with a laugh. “Nobody knows who you are or how to play you. I broke through and did well for about a year, but then I struggled with motivation. It’s always been a thing for me, motivation.”

“I never went into tennis as my choice. My dad coached me since I was little and I always felt like I had to play, it was never that I wanted to play.”

After 2006, King struggled with the balance of being a regular teenager and a professional tennis player. Sensing a need for change, she made the brave decision to part ways with her Taiwanese father. “We didn’t have a good relationship at the end,” she said, suggesting that cultural differences were a big part of the problem. “He was a coach and not the father anymore, and I basically had to break off the relationship and move on. It was hard for both of us, but it was really hard for me. I was a teenager, just 17. I was miserable and he was really upset with me.” Though she was the one who made the decision to part ways, there were still many moments of doubt. “It was really difficult, but I think it was ultimately a good decision. You’ve got to do what you think is right.”

• Andreas Seppi has a new trainer.

• Non-tennis: Baseball's popularity after the Civil War resulted in part from how the game was played regularly in prison camps during the war.
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