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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Li Na will play Novak Djokovic at the China Open

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCVd51DLFkg

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

• Video: Here's your Eurosport WATTS ZAP review of the lighter moments from the U.S. Open.

• According to the China Daily, Li Na will play Novak Djokovic in an exhibition match at the China Open.

• Simon Cambers of The Tennis Space looks at Marin Cilic's nine-month doping suspension and the problematic nature of "silent bans."

• Now that Thomas Drouet is accusing John Tomic of hitting his son, Bernard, John says he regrets not punching Drouet the first time.

• According to this blog post (in French), Ernests Gulbis says he's no longer friends with Djokovic because he doesn't like it when people change when they become successful.

USA Today's Doug Robson assesses the prize money distribution model for the WTA, which leans toward a winner-take-all style.

Pam Shriver, a top pro in the 1970s and 1980s with a long history of governance participation in the game, offered another [explanation].

She says the disparity stems from a conscious historical precedent to build and legitimize women's tennis with winner-incentivized purses at a time of less status for women in the workplace and society.

"I would say prize money has been an overwhelmingly bigger marketing device in women's tennis than men's tennis," Shriver said.

Sam Stosur of Australia, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, echoed Shriver.

"So that's always going to be, at the end of the day, the ones that are in the finals, semis, whatever, they are the biggest rounds," said Stosur, ranked No. 17 but who has been as high as No. 4. "I think you have to reward those players for doing better.

"Of course everyone has to start somewhere. I have been in that boat starting on tour, and you need that first-round money to almost make it to the next event."

• An Irish tennis player, James McGee, blogs about what it's really like for a journeyman. A must-read.

I started using a thicker string with a lower gauge which meant it would take longer to snap. This certainly saved me some extra cash but it didn’t save my shoulder -- I ended up having to take three months off and get an injection in my shoulder at the end of 2011 because it had taken a serious beating from playing with what felt like a large plank of wood. I won’t be doing that again!

On top of that, I had to find players every week who I could share a room with to cut hotel costs. It wasn’t very enjoyable, and I had my fair share of sleepless nights because my French or Italian roommate was snoring the hotel down. On one particular instance, my roommate was snoring so loud that I screamed at the top of my lungs, “SHUT THE #@!* UP!” and threw my two pillows at his head. It was enough to quieten him down for a few hours but still, not ideal. I’ve since purchased some effective noise-reducing ear plugs which I now use when flying, sleeping in noisy hotels etc.

I also clamped down on my laundry expenses by washing all my clothes in the bathtub or sink during tournaments. Laundry can surprisingly be quite expensive depending on what hotel you stay at.

• espnW on the marketing of American juniors Tornado and Hurricane Black.

"Alicia got her name 'Tornado' when she was 3 and playing out of her mind," she said. "We couldn't believe how amazing she was and we knew then we had a champion. When the next one was born, we knew she could do it, too, and so her [legal] name is Tyra Hurricane."

But raising champions was only a part of the strategy.

"I have a marketing degree . . . and I knew I needed to do something for them to stand out, and we thought it was cute," Gayal said. "[Tornado didn't like her name] a few years ago. Kids tease you. But now they understand it's marketing and it's very big to say a storm blew through the US Open.

"It's great for everybody, for publicity. Greg Norman was the Great White Shark. Sir Richard Branson said you have to have a brand to use. We don't want them to be the next Williams sisters or those African-American sisters. They're Tornado and Hurricane so people can identify them as something other than the next Venus and Serena. And what better marquee above the US Open than 'Tornado and Hurricane Black?'

• Sam Stosur is in no hurry to find a new coach.

• From the New York Post, the head of security for the U.S. Open sent some shockingly racist emails.

• Tom Tebbutt's last dispatch from Belgrade. He blogged about the Serbia-Canada Davis Cup tie for Tennis Canada.

• IMG has bought the AAMI Classic, an Australian Open lead-up exhibition tournament in Kooyong.

• ZooTennis on the continued marginalization of doubles on the NCAA level.

• Non-tennis: Cool multimedia piece in Rolling Stone on the CIA's recruitment of hackers.
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