Thursday August 8th, 2013

http://youtu.be/YKZ9G1LWsuE

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

• Video: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro are all in action on Thursday at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. The must-see matches: Nadal vs. big-hitting Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz and Murray vs. the always entertaining Ernests Gulbis. As for the must-watch women's matches in Toronto, Sloane Stephens gets a shot at Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova plays Sam Stosur.

• Here's a look at what Nike has prepared for Roger Federer, Nadal and del Potro to wear at the U.S. Open. And for Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Li Na.

• Here's what Adidas has in store for Murray, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki at the U.S. Open.

• A good reminder here from Stephens that we should always take a player's press conference comments with a grain of salt.

• Matt Cronin weighs in on Venus Williams' tough road ahead.

Right now, Venus is shadow of her former great self  and unless something radically changes in the next two weeks or so, it’s hard to see the 33-year-old even reaching the second week of the US Open. She hasn’t won the tournament since she went back to back in 2000-2001, but she remained very competitive there through 2010. In 2011, she began to be affected by Sjorden’s Syndrome and came out in public at the US Open and told the world of her troubles. Since then, she has had a couple of decent shorts spurts of play, but she has been unable to sustain that level, which is very understandable give that it has been hard enough for her just to find away to get her energy level up to live a decent day, then to practice, and then to play a handful of matches. But to able consistently sustain a top-10 level of play? No, she has not been there since last spring and yesterday it appeared like she might not even be able to pull off a top 50 level of play.

• Nadal, who won his first match at the Rogers Cup on Wednesday, says his knees are feeling fine. That's good news.

• Sorana Cirstea saved match points to knock out Wozniacki 5-7, 7-6 (0), 6-4 on Wednesday in Toronto. If you have three hours to spare, the full match is already up on YouTube. It featured some incredible shot-making from Cirstea.

• The Citi Open experimented with the use of tarps on hard courts to reduce the amount of time it takes to dry a court after a rain delay.

The idea of using a tarp in Washington came not from tournament groundskeepers but from a sponsor. Philip Lajaunie, chief executive of American Summits, the bottled water sponsor of the Citi Open, said he had often wondered why hardcourt events did not use tarps and approached organizers asking to test it out during the tournament.

“I always was astonished by how long the rain delays could be,” Lajaunie said. “Because the rain is just that: the rain. It could last 10 minutes or it could last an hour, but then it takes literally 45 minutes to dry the whole court. So for all these years I was thinking about having a tarp, very much like in baseball or Wimbledon, that would diminish the rain delay by an incredible amount of time.”

Dan Laufer, the director of operations for the tournament, cleared Lajaunie’s idea with the ATP supervisor, Mark Darby.

“He said to try it out,” Laufer said. “If it works, great, if it doesn’t, we’re not going to use it. Basically his concern was, one, how long will it take to put down? How long will it take to wrap back up? That sort of thing. We did a dry run a couple days before the tournament started. We laid it out, found that it was pretty easy, and we took it from there.”

Djokovic graffiti is popping up all over Belgrade.

• From The Tennis Space: Five things that need changing in tennis. • Non-tennis: Happy Shark Week, everyone!

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