Daily Bagel: Maria Kirilenko, Alex Ovechkin take the court together
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Happy 43rd birthday, Andre Agassi.
• Just checking in on Alex Ovechkin and Maria Kirilenko. KiriVechkin?
• Some heavy number-crunching here in an attempt to figure out if the quicker pace of play observed when Novak Djokovic met Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo was the result of the new ATP rules, the surface or just the ebb and flow of that match.
Taken to the extreme, if every game ends after 40-0 (or 0-40), the match will be much quicker than if every game goes to deuce. Therefore, I checked the number of points played in both matches, and was surprised to see them nearly equal - the 2013 Monte Carlo final had 139 points, and the 2012 Rome Final - 143 points. This piqued my interest, and I decided to compare all of the 34 Nadal-Djokovic matches in terms of the average elapsed time per point^ - the overall match length divided by the total number of points played.
• From The Tennis Space, Britain's Colin Fleming talks about the economic realities of being a tennis player. It's a very good read.
The low prize-money money in Futures and Challenger Tours makes it impossible to make a living at a lower level – and forced me to focus on doubles. The problem with the Futures and Challenger Tours is that their prize money is very low and it hasn’t really changed for years. We’ve had this on-going push for more prize money at the grand slams, which is great, but in the ATP meetings at the slams, there might be a few guys who have done well in Futures and Challengers but as in any walk of life, people are going to look after their own interests. Improving the prize money at that level is not on the agenda; you don’t have Futures players at those meetings – they don’t really have a voice.
• Steve Tignor and Kamakshi Tandon with a great discussion of how tennis coverage has evolved over time. It all has to do with fans having more access these days.
When I think about the difference in the tennis-following experience between now and 20 or 30 years ago, when I followed as a fan, the big change is that it has become much more direct and un-mediated. Now I can watch any match, I can read every quote straight from the transcript, I can see 20 comments on that quote on Tennis.com, I can hear 20 ironic tweets about a player's horrible choke, and I can top it off by watching a GIF of some blunderous moment 50 times. And then I can do it all again an hour later with a different match and player.
• Ashley Harkleroad played a tennis tournament last weekend and was the No. 2 seed. She lost 0-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the final.
• Fun Q&A with Stanford star Nicole Gibbs.
• The No Challenges Remaining podcast, of which I am one of the hosts, started a tennis book club at Good Reads.• Non-tennis: Sony has figured out a way to mute unwanted sports commentary. The future is here.