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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: It came down to the wire, but Roger Federer's in for ATP Finals

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am_32Pwd5Go

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

• Video: In honor of Caroline Wozniacki naming Thomas Hogstedt her new coach, here's the highlights from her recent victory at the Luxembourg Open, her first title this season.

• Breathe easy, everyone: Roger Federer has finally sealed his spot at the ATP World Tour Finals and he says he's feeling the best he's felt since the early Spring.

“I’m just happy right now to have made it again [to the World Tour Finals],” Federer said. “It’s one of the goals I set myself at the beginning of the year. I could feel out there that the way I was taking decisions, the way I was moving, it was very clear-cut. No second guessing.

“I know why the year was difficult for me. It’s not because I can’t make a forehand anymore. It’s because I had physical injuries, and I still played in spite of the injuries because I’m not going into a corner and waiting for four months. Little by little I lost my confidence in my movements, in my game. But it was not that bad, because I just qualified for London.”

• Martina Hingis, her mother and her mother's boyfriend have been questioned by Swiss police about an alleged assault on her estranged husband that may have involved a DVD player. It's a head-scratcher.

• Ed Smith of The New Statesman reflects on Federer's greatness.

Sportsmen have a tough relationship with so-called normal life. The day job demands a remarkable ability to believe they are superhuman agents of destiny. But carry over too much of that faith into everyday life and you veer dangerously close to madness. So, the holy grail is a kind of dual life, in which the athlete safeguards and protects an adolescent faith in his own specialness, and at the same time develops normality in the rest of life. Having been around Federer at several grand slam tournaments over the past few years, I’ve seen him in many modes. The normal and the remarkable coexist naturally, the one giving enough space to the other.

Drewett spoke quietly, almost inaudibly, but the message was clear. He described how the culture at the top of men’s tennis was unrecognisable from that of his own time as a player in the 1980s. Back then, rivalries morphed into outright hatred and many big guns treated the junior players with contempt. “Roger changed all that and Rafael Nadal matched [fitted in with] the standards he set,” Drewett explained. “After them, everyone had to follow their example.”

Cultures are always in flux; they can improve as well as decline. Beside all their other achievements, Federer and Nadal disproved one of the silliest myths of professional sport: that there is a competitive disadvantage in being a decent person.

• Heather Watson says tennis became very lonely when she lost all her confidence this year.

During her lowest moments, the normally bubbly and effervescent Watson withdrew into herself. She avoided social media -- “when you win, everybody’s your friend and when you don’t, it’s not just you beating yourself up it’s other people” -- and found little comfort from her fellow professionals on the tour.

“I just want to go home -- that was my thought, all the time. I feel like the men’s tour is very different, but lots of girls especially just want to keep to themselves. A lot of them say, ‘I can’t be friends with anybody else because it will just make it hard if we play a match.'

“It’s fair enough, whatever you want to do. But I’m not one of those girls who just ignores everybody and doesn’t speak a word to anyone. When I’m going through a hard time, tennis is very lonely.”

• Marin Cilic's return to the game is raising some questions about the transparency of tennis' anti-doping regime and its disclosure rules.

• Luxury brands are targeting tennis because it's the sport of the wealthy in China.

• Which was your favorite doping excuse?

• Non-tennis: The Boston Red Sox won their third World Series since 2004 last night, and relief pitcher Koji Uehara's son stole the show during this postgame interview with Erin Andrews.

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