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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Bryans the exception to struggles of U.S. men's tennis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Y0_4T9J4U

• Video: This new Wilson ad features Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Feliciano Lopez and Kei Nishikori.

• For all the talk about the sorry state of American men's tennis, how about them Bryans?

Bob and Mike are tennis gifts from the gods, monozygotic miracles born 35 years ago to physical advantage and talented and dedicated enough to transform advantage into legend. Bob is 6'4", Mike an inch shorter. Bob is lefthanded, making them the rarest of genetic miracles, the mirror twins, perfect for doubles. They've won each of the four majors at least twice and have 15 slam titles total, two more than the Williams sisters. And unlike the Williams sisters, the Bryans enter the U.S. Open just a championship away from winning the calendar grand slam. That hasn't been done on the men's side since 1951, since before Bobby Thomson hit the shot heard 'round the world. The brothers already hold all four majors after having won last year's U.S. Open, and they carry the Olympic gold medal on top of that. So winning the Open would give them what no male player has ever had: the calendar grand slam plus the most recent gold medal. (In 1988 Steffi Graf became the only female to pull off that feat.)

• Mardy Fish has withdrawn from the U.S. Open citing personal reasons, just a day after he retired in the third set of his match against Jarkko Nieminen in Winston-Salem due to heat stroke.

https://twitter.com/MardyFish/status/370171690900537344

• Roger Federer isn't a fan of the champagne shower of victory.

In his athletic career, the tennis champ has been sprayed by champagne after many a match. “And not being able to open my eyes after it,” he laughed. “In team competition, very often they like to do that, especially on court. Next thing you know, you don’t see anything. It’s an awful feeling, but a good one at the same time,” he told us. “So you need a shower right away after that.”

• Andy Murray says he's put his Wimbledon hangover behind him.

• Nice interview with Andrea Petkovic about her social media prowess.

• Is it time to start thinking about Roger Federer's retirement?

Federer, who has not won the United States Open since 2008, picked up on that theme in Ohio, saying: “Sometimes, the media uses what they have to make a good article for them, which makes sense, but right now for me, it is getting back playing well, going deep into tournaments, and then the ranking will follow automatically, up or down.”

It has always been difficult to read Federer, on court and off, so who knows what he is thinking. Did he make recent stops he hadn’t made in years (Gstaad, Switzerland, and Hamburg, Germany) thinking he might never pass that way again? Or were they to test the new racket he soon after discarded (for now)?

Whatever happens, one would hope that Federer’s sunset — if that is what he is approaching, or in — will not be darkened by misinterpretation of opinion or fact. For the past decade, he has been every bit the salesman and much more the statesman for his sport that Tiger Woods has been for golf. He has been as classy an act as baseball’s departing Mariano Rivera, who has been touring the country to a standing ovation in his farewell season.

• An interesting translated interview with Sergiy Stakhovsky. The guy has opinions.

• Madison Keys took a visit to Teen Vogue.

• Non-tennis: The happiest and saddest parts of New York based on Twitter data.
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