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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Big Four impressions

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

• Video: Incredible impressions of the Big Four.

• Jimmy Connors says the much-celebrated rivalries in today's game are "soft" compared with those of the 1970s.

"The game now is what it is," he said. "I've been criticized for saying it, but the rivalries are soft. I can only compare it to what I did. To me, they were real, not only on the court but off the court, too. I don't see Mac [John McEnroe] coming up and putting his arm around me and consoling me.

"Maybe it's because tennis has become such big business, that they're all making their fair share. Back in my day, it was all about the winning. But now, sometimes there are guys who get their success at the end of the year by the size of their bank account, as opposed to the number of titles that they win."

Steve Flink reviews Connors' memoir, The Outsider. (My review is here.)

In the end, my view of Jimmy Connors has not changed much from what I felt as a reporter who covered his entire career. The book simply confirms how fundamentally complicated and contradictory he is.

Gallery: Jimmy Connors through the years

• Nice to see the return of Alisa Kleybanova, who qualified for a $10K ITF event in Landisville, Pa., this week. Kleybanova, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma two years ago, played only one WTA tournament last year and has been off the tour in 2013.

• It's the seventh anniversary of the 2006 Italian Open final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Nadal won 6-7 (0), 7-6 (5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5) in 5 hours and 5 minutes.

• The Tennis Space on the fairness of reciprocal wild cards.

Federer cut his hair. What do you think?

• Bonus video: How about this scrambling set-point save by Radek Stepanek against Potito Starace in the first round of the Italian Open? (Starace won 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.) Also, men grunt. Let's stop pretending they don't.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyTzS5zphzA

• Non-tennis: A hotel manager spills on all the ways hotels try to rip you off.

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