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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Hewitt thinks Nishikori will be a Grand Slam contender one day

http://youtu.be/OmrFUKZyz_A

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

• Video: Thirteen minutes of Andy Murray's best shots, both on and off the court.

• Lleyton Hewitt pegs Kei Nishikori as a future Grand Slam contender.

• Serena Williams was following the U.S. Fed Cup team's progress in Cleveland last weekend, sending captain Mary Joe Fernandez text messages during matches.

• Maria Sharapova shared her photo diary from Sochi with Vogue.

• Ranking the coolest tennis players of all time.

• Spanish figure skater Javier Fernandez, who is a favorite to win a medal, says he gets inspiration from Rafael Nadal.

"How hard that man fights, how he is personally... Very few people can get to be like he is," Fernandez told dpa two days ahead of the singles event he is set to compete in.

"Being as strong as he is mentally, controlling everything, your head, your hold on things, the physical thing," Fernandez said of the tennis world number one.

• Grantland's Paul Wachter examines the brutal world of Futures tournaments, the lowest rung of the ATP ladder.

Of all the players I met, [Jean-Yves] Aubone was perhaps the most introspective about life on professional tennis’s bottom rung. He had a stellar collegiate career at Florida and also won two Futures tournaments while a student. But when he graduated in 2010 he was burned out and took a job at a small financial firm before joining Morgan Stanley in Miami. Then he felt the itch to play again, to make a committed run in the pros.

Aubone fully recognizes the financial absurdity of this choice. “When I left Morgan Stanley, I was making a lot of money,” he says. “And then last week, Vahid and I won the doubles in Plantation and I got $170.”

“Look, no one here is doing this for the money,” he says. Still, he recognizes that he can’t live like this indefinitely. “I’m 26,” he says. “That’s not old if you’re a top player. The average age of players in the top 100 is 28, and many are playing into their thirties. But if you’re not up in the rankings, if you’re not making a living, at some point it doesn’t make sense to keep fighting in the Futures. For me, this probably is a make-or-break year.”

• Stanislas Wawrinka has signed with Subaru in Switzerland (link in French).

• Ouch. Jamie Hampton has been under the knife twice over the last few weeks:

• Introducing Margin of Error, a new tennis podcast that's worth subscribing to from the folks at Tennis Abstract and The Changeover blogs.

• Non-tennis: Russian media reports that a Deadspin editor was stripped of his Olympic accreditation. Yeah, he's not even in Sochi.
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