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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Wimbledon outfits

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

• Video: The Road to Roland Garros team told a bunch of players that Roger Federer had retired and videotaped the freak-outs. You can practically hear Grigor Dimitrov's heart breaking.

• Wimbledon fashion watch: Here's what Federer and Rafael Nadal will be wearing. As for the ladies, here are the Nike dresses for Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

• Wimbledon wild cards have been announced. Nicolas Mahut, Matt Ebden and Andrea Petkovic are among the recipients. Six singles wild cards are still available, with four for the men and two for the women.

Surely the draw gods can't have Mahut face John Isner in the early rounds for a third time, right?

https://twitter.com/JohnIsner/status/344778154138824704

• Gael Monfils has withdrawn his request for a Wimbledon wild card because he has to deal with a personal problem. At this week's Gerry Weber Open, the Frenchman upset Milos Raonic in the first round and was up to his usual entertaining ways in a second-round victory against Jan Hernych on Wednesday.

• Fantastic interview with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in The Guardian. He recalls the first time he played Queen's in London, in 2007. He played an ATP Challenger in Surbiton, France, that same week.

Reeling off every match he won in Surbiton, starting with a first-round defeat of Frédéric Niemeyer from Canada to his victory in the final over Ivo Karlovic, the big-serving giant from Croatia, Tsonga is laughing by the time he recalls his modest celebrations. "After I won in Surbiton, I had a beer. I remember it because I was like this [Tsonga pulls a drunken face]. I'm not used to beer. But Eric [Winogradsky, his former coach] told me that, after winning, I have to drink it. So I had one beer and I was completely drunk. It was great."

• Louisa Thomas for Grantland: Is Serena's dominance taken for granted?

I wonder if Serena’s greatness, for all the press it gets, is actually taken for granted. It’s not really tested, debated, scrutinized, or comparable, except to players who are fading or gone. Since it’s a foregone conclusion, there seems to be less of a general public sense that something’s at stake. Women’s tennis has lots of competitive, compelling characters. But even on the rare occasions when Serena loses, the gulf between her and those other players remains wide.

The funny thing is, I wonder if the best way to watch Serena now would be to watch onlySerena. Some of my favorite moments during the women’s final came when replays kept the cameras trained only on Williams’s reactions, not the ball, so that all you could see was how she moved — her intensity and poise, her quickness and patience, her power and touch, her defense and aggression. She almost cartwheeled across the clay. She was always at once perfectly balanced and about to fall. It’s fitting that she ended the match with aces, the one point that an opponent doesn’t touch. "I thought, I'm not going to be able to hit groundstrokes," she said. "No joke. I really thought — and as you see the one groundstroke I did hit went like 100 feet out. I thought to myself, Look, Serena, you've just got to hit aces. That's your only choice. I just had to hit aces."

• The New York Times profiles Wimbledon doubles champion Freddie Nielsen, who continues to commit to his singles career despite heavy skepticism.

“The reason I play tennis is to get it all,” Nielsen said. “I want the singles. I want to be as good a player as I can be and want to try to see if I can get my ranking up so I can play the Grand Slams. People say I’m crazy. I’ve heard that many times. I respect everybody’s opinion and love the debate.”

When asked about Nielsen, Bob Bryan, who has won 14 Grand Slam events in doubles with his twin, Mike, first said: “Has he changed his view yet?”

Told that he had not, Bryan seemed surprised.

“A lot of people think he put himself in a great position to make a great living in the doubles world and be top 20 and play the big tournaments and have a chance to make big checks,” he said. “A lot of people would kill for that opportunity. But if it doesn’t make him happy, it doesn’t make him happy.”

• The Grandstand's "Facebook reacts" posts are always a must-read. The tennis jokes and attention to detail (keep an eye on the avatars) are hilarious. Here's how Facebook reacted to Nadal's French Open victory.

• Two observations about this Ernests Gulbis racket smash Tuesday in Halle, Germany: 1.) He was conscientious enough to break it in a way that didn't damage the grass courts, and 2.) he won.

• A look at Battle of the Sexes, an upcoming documentary about the famous match that changed the landscape for women in sports.

• Non-tennis: The Anonymous hacker who helped bring national attention to the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case could get more jail time than the rapists. (Link contains strong language.)

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