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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Tennis impersonator tests Rafael Nadal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM7rFpwdI7w&feature=share

• Video: Tennis impressionist extraordinaire Josh Berry does his schtick for an audience of one: Rafael Nadal

The Tennis Space and I are the same page: Don't knight Andy Murray until the end of his career.

• So this happened (NSFW-ish).

The Guardian recreates Murray's big win with ... Legos.

• Another big winner on Sunday: Mahesh Bhupathi. His management company, Globosport, signed on to handle Murray's commercial interests a few months ago.

• Carl Bialik of The Wall Street Journal breaks down how Murray can become the first British man ranked No. 1 since the computerized rankings were introduced. It's not going to be easy.

The Classical's Jeremy Gordon writes that we'll never know what made Murray transform himself into a champion. Not that we don't try to speculate. Every tic, facial expression and curse word is there for us to see. We can't help ourselves.

But there’s so much more to go off in tennis, where the camera is trained on each player at pretty much all times—not enough to justify patronizing, rosary clutching columns on why Rafael Nadal isn’t a TRUE WINNER because he has been known to smile during matches, but enough to get a fair idea of the particular ways in which the top players sublimate their feelings through behavioral tics, play tactics, in-game rituals and so on. It’s not a portrait, but it’s a very detailed sketch.

I won’t connect the dots, but consider the following: the way Roger Federer cruises on gentlemanly neutral until he’s clearly winning or losing, at which point he begins shouting and fist pumping like someone no longer capable of hiding the fact that he’s drunk; the way Novak Djokovic leisurely smirks to himself after a bad break, already plotting his revenge; the way Juan Martin Del Potro leisurely treats the court like a stage, winning over the crowd and the opponent with his wistful, exasperated glances and gesticulation; the way Serena Williams looks like she is so totally over it, all the time.

Or consider the way that Murray is having it out with himself before collecting his bearings and crushing [Fernando] Verdasco in the next two sets to even things up, and then eventually toughing it out in the final set to advance to the semifinal, itself the preview for his eventual Wimbledon victory, making him (as you might have heard) the first British man to do so since before the second World War. From inexplicable, self-berating failure to steely glory: it’s the Andy Murray experience, summed up in a few days.

• Asked by a British TV presenter whether he would propose to girlfriend Kim Sears, Murray said, "I only met you like 10 minutes ago so I wouldn’t be telling you first."

• The guys at The Grandstand look a the unheralded stars of Wimbledon.

• Photos: The WTA's website recaps a busy few days for Marion Bartoli.

Tennis' doping program needs more transparency to stop all the speculation.

• Murray for the BBC: "Hopefully we can do it all again next year -- but I'm sure we could all do with some rest first!"

• Non-tennis: Jay-Z has no business in sports.

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