Wednesday November 6th, 2013

• Video: Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in a UK Wii commercial. (H/T The Slice).

• Rafael Nadal overcame long odds to finish as year-end No. 1. He clinched that distinction with Wednesday's victory over Stanislas Wawrinka at the ATP World Tour Finals.

• Toni Nadal marvels at what his nephew has accomplished this season.

“I don’t know what else he can achieve,” said Uncle Toni. “I never know what more he can do. When we are in Majorca building to the next year, we don’t know if we are going to be at the top or not good enough. I hope he can be there more years and to be, if not the best player, one of them in a line for some more tournaments.

“When I watch Rafael it is not the same when I watch anyone else play. I don’t like the word ‘proud’ but when it is announced what he has won in his career the emotions are profound. Watching him I am nervous; it is different. Then, I don’t think what happened before: how many titles he has won. When he was young I was very tough with him, I said that when he loses a match it is not my fault.

• What's Laura Robson been up to in the offseason? Just having what looks like an incredible vacation in South America.

• The Huffington Post has a great discussion with James Blake about race, gender, sexual orientation and sports. Here's what he had to say about transgender athletes and Renee Richards:

I don’t have anything against anyone competing as long as they are not doing anything that would give them any sort of unfair advantage, and I don’t see that as an unfair advantage. I also don’t see what everyone was talking about with Rene Richards. They said things like: “oh, this is unfair and everyone is going to try this or that. People asked “is going to start a trend?” I think that is absolutely ridiculous, because - like you said -gender is the way you feel. People are not going to change their entire being to be a sports star. To me it’s just so ridiculous, if it’s who they are, it’s who they are. Let them be who they are and compete however they want to compete. I don’t know the ins and outs of what drugs are taken and if there’s some sort of steroid or something in there, then I could understand people’s objection. But I still don’t see being trans* as an advantage or something that needs to be regulated. I think people should be allowed to compete.

• British cyclist Mark Cavendish calls out tennis' anti-doping procedures.

• Steve Tignor on the brain game that is tennis.

What has been interesting this fall has been watching how the psychologies of the top guys have been affected by their relative positions on the ranking totem pole. It’s always amazing to see how delicate those psychologies are, and how quickly they can change, even among veteran champions. It also proves, if we needed it proven again, how success in tennis resides in the mind, rather than in the feet, the strokes, the serve, or anyplace else. With guys this good and this evenly matched, little changes in head space can mean everything.
• Non-tennis: If you graduate from an elite academic university, prepare to be bullied in the NFL.

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