Daily Bagel: Li Na contemplated retirement last year
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: The Australian Open kicked off on ESPN with this trailer.
• Great piece from Linda Pearce of The Age in which Li Na reveals that she told her coach, Carlos Rodriguez, last year before Wimbledon that she wanted to retire.
An ordinary claycourt season culminating in a second-round wipeout at Roland Garros had been followed by a quick visit home to Wuhan to regroup before a quarter-final loss to Elena Vesnina in the grasscourt warm-up event in Eastbourne. Li was feeling bad, she recalls. Sad. Throughout the two-and-a-half hour road trip to Wimbledon, no one spoke.
''When we arriving in Wimbledon I say to Carlos, 'Eh, Carlos, look, I want to retire','' Li said. ''And normally I would think that Carlos for sure would say, 'No, don't do that, like we try', but Carlos was like, 'OK, let's go home. Go. Yeah'. And I was like, 'What?'
''In Chinese way, we didn't like to speak out, so everything just holds [inside] for the self, so he say, 'You should try to speak out to let us know what happens'. I was like, 'OK, maybe we try, the last tournament, to see how it's going in Wimbledon. If going well, I will continue. If not, maybe just over'. So he was like, 'OK, let's try it. One more chance'.''
• Maria Sharapova told Doug Robson of USA Today that she's kept her expectations in check for the Australian Open after her shoulder injury cut short her 2013 season.
• Niki Pilic, Boris Becker's former Davis Cup captain, says Becker needs to change his ways to be an effective coach to Novak Djokovic. First order of business: Get out of the spotlight.
• The Independent has a must-read on Britain's Jamie Baker, another piece on the tough life for players in the lower echelons of the game.
Three months after Baker took the decision to retire, I ask if he thinks this is unfair. If someone told me I was the 185th best journalist in the world, I would be ecstatic, and I would demand a pay rise. And journalism is screwed. What’s it like, then, to be a member of an elite, and yet dismissed as an also-ran? Baker, whose loose limbs, resilient tan and training shorts made him look like an athlete even in retirement, is sitting in a café near the new flat he is renting with his girlfriend in Putney – the first time he has had a permanent home of his own. He thinks for a moment. “It’s a tough one,” he begins. “For such a global game, there aren’t nearly enough people making a living out of it. Think about how many people play, how many people go to these events, how many watch on TV. And it can only support 100 or 150 players in the world? It’s crazy.”
• Australian betting houses are setting odds on which Melbourne nightclub Bernard Tomic will be spotted at first.
• More Bernie news: Tomic wants to play doubles with Roger Federer and eat a McFlurry with Tiger Woods.
• If you speak Spanish, there's a big piece on Rafael Nadal in El Pais.
• From TMZ: Venus Williams' car was stolen but it's been found. • Non-tennis: Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick stole Cam Newton's touchdown celebration during San Francisco's victory over the Panthers on Sunday.