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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Martina Navratilova weighs in on Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZhFiqzCbXg

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

• Video: I missed this shot last week: Rafael Nadal does demoralizing things to Ernests Gulbis at the Qatar Open.

• In an espnW story, Martina Navratilova offers up a contrast between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.

"People know Maria as being a very classy girl, so [what she said about Serena at Wimbledon] caught a lot of people off guard," he [Sharapova's agent, Max Eisenbud] said, "[but] you know how many players and other people came up to her after and told her they loved what she said? A lot.

"She's very real, and there aren't many very real female tennis players and that's what really separates her. … People know what's real and not real. Yes, she's beautiful and plays great, but her realness is why she is such a great partner to her sponsors. There's nobody else like that on tour."

...

"What she said about Serena, I'm sure she wishes she hadn't said it, but she's one of the most honest players out there," Navratilova said of Sharapova. "She gives you more than anybody, which is such a contrast to Serena, who doesn't give you anything."

• Meanwhile, Serena has a new photo shoot coming out ...

• As Kamakshi Tandon details for ESPN.com, a lot has changed since the beginning of the 2013 season.

The New York Times' Ben Rothenberg on James McGee, Ireland's only player in the ATP top 400, who tells it like it really is for lower-ranked players grinding outside of the glitz and glamour of the main tour.

Lacking the prize money or sponsorship to employ a coach, McGee has to travel alone most of the year, which can be difficult for an athlete who ends nearly every week with a loss.

“I’ve had some really rough moments, to be honest, on my own,” McGee said. “Especially after losses. Especially going back to a hotel room after a match you should’ve won, and you had match points, or whatever, and you’re in, of all places, you’re in Romania. I remember that experience in Romania this year. I was on my own, and you really have those soul-searching moments, like, why am I doing this?”

• An often hilarious read by Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian on the mysterious world of Bernard Tomic.

He is fluent in Croatian and tennis, but does not always make himself understood in life. The emphasis is on the second syllable of Bernard's first name, American style, although he is widely known as Bernie. He pronounces Tomic with a hard "c", to sound "less ethnic, more Australian", according to a source close to the player. It doesn't make much sense. That is not unusual in Tomic World, a playground of endless surprises.

Ana Ivanovic turned to a Serbian support team, including new coach Nemanja Kontic, and her title drought ended. Could that be the secret? From CNN.com:

In Kontic, Ivanovic may not have a wise professor on her hands as she did with [former coach Nigel] Sears, yet the 32-year-old, ranked 1,635th in men's doubles, is able to offer her something that respect within the game cannot always buy -- a shared cultural identity.

"I'm really enjoying someone who speaks the same language and can understand you," Ivanovic said.

• "The last time ..." with the always entertaining Dmitry Tursunov.

• Non-tennis: Baby elephant. Cuddle. Roll tape.

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