Daily Bagel: Happy Birthday, Juan Martin del Potro
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Great compilation of some of the hardest shots in tennis. We miss you, Gonzo.
• Happy Birthday, Juan Martin del Potro, who is quite possibly the world's biggest Pixar fan.
• Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska have qualified for the WTA Championships, though Sharapova's participation is questionable due to injury. The top-seeded doubles team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci is also in.
• This marks the 100th week at No. 1 for Novak Djokovic. He's the ninth player in history to hit 100 weeks.
• Peter Bodo on Djokovic's "Worst Great Year."
The compelling aspect of this saga is the most difficult one to analyze or comment on with any conviction. That’s the question of Djokovic’s motivation. Other, lesser players have gotten into the zone Djokovic inhabited through 2011; Gaston Gaudio will forever be a former French Open champion. But it usually isn’t for such an extended period, so we know Djokovic’s run was no fluke. And usually when a truly great player -- and Djokovic is one -- hits his stride, he keeps his foot on the gas in a way that’s obvious even if he isn’t winning everything in sight. It just doesn’t look like Djokovic has the pedal to the metal.
My own feeling grows out of the fact that Djokovic has crafted a truly inspirational autobiography, emerging from a troubled, have-not tennis nation to become a towering global celebrity. He has a tremendous amount to be proud of, and he’s entitled to sit back and smell the roses, if that’s what he wants. But I don’t believe that’s really what he wants.
I also think he’s a genuinely nice guy with many of the rough edges you might expect to find sanded down. Not to get too mystical here, but it occurred to me during the Wimbledon final that some men seem destined to stand in the way of history, or to spoil what might be an enchanted moment; others gracefully yield to it with a kind of “old soul” wisdom. Djokovic, contrary to what his struggle as an outsider who rose to the top suggests, may be the latter type of man.
• Radwanska threw out the first pitch at a baseball game in Korea last week.
• The Grandstand with another funny take on players reacting to Rafael Nadal's U.S. Open win. I'd like to think Ernests Gulbis' Facebook avatar really is Sesame Street's Ernie. • Non-tennis: A lesson in honesty from gay athletes.