Daily Bagel: Players descend on Mexico
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Come for a glimpse of the ATP/WTA player party in Acapulco, stay for the short clip of Grigor Dimitrov dancing, which is even better as a GIF.
• Bad news: Juan Martin del Potro retired from his first-round match in Dubai because he felt more pain in his left wrist.
• Dimitrov and Eugenie Bouchard are on a boat and a helicopter and a floating tennis court.
• Is Rafael Nadal going to play the International Tennis Premier League? According to this report, he could get $1 million per night to play. And on that note, is the ITPL good for tennis? It will be hard to take any participating player seriously if he or she arrives in Australia complaining of fatigue or injury.
• At a time when motivation may be a question mark, Roger Federer's focus on Davis Cup makes perfect sense, writes Peter Bodo.
This newfound streak of patriotism (and I don’t mean that as cynically as it may sound) will serve Federer as well as he’ll serve Switzerland, because at this point in his career it’s all about motivation. The reality is that the odds on Federer leading Switzerland to a Davis Cup victory are better than on him winning another major. Why should Federer spend the year beating himself up for not matching his previous, amazing feats? The Davis Cup must be like re-discovering a toy that was cast aside in haste some time ago and finding out what fun it is.
By broadening his focus, Federer also takes away some of the pressure that is unavoidable in his situation. That’s also where the 2016 Olympics come into play. The games are far enough in advance to guarantee that what Federer does tomorrow, or next month, or even next year, doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot.
• Tennis' anti-doping program has improved, but it's still got a long way to go.
• Amateur tennis guru Colette Lewis finds an analogue between the proposed changes to collegiate tennis to make it more fan-friendly, and the recent U.S. bobsledding controversy surrounding Lolo Jones.
So as college tennis experiments with scoring changes (and I'm with Texas A&M's Howard Joffe, who hasn't heard a good reason for such a change, on this one), the old format has done an excellent job of preparing the best Division I (including doubles) players for a career on the next level.
I would like college tennis to be more popular. I would like to see the stands full, and the atmosphere at an important conference match like that of the North Carolina - Duke men's basketball game last night. But I don't want the sport to be diluted beyond recognition to try to do that, especially when there is no guarantee such drastic measures would actually produce a huge group of new fans.
• Shanghai, Dubai and Queen's were voted the best ATP tournaments by the players. It never ceases to surprise me how different tournaments are perceived by players and fans. I'd venture a guess that those three tournaments wouldn't be voted in the top five by fans.
• Did Serena Williams get into it with Rihanna at a Drake concert in Paris? Who knows.
• In other Serena news, what's up with these last two tweets?
Everybody needs love
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) February 24, 2014
Me. Mine. Alone. Myself. I. One. Solo. Unaccompanied.• Non-tennis: R.I.P. Harold Ramis.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) February 25, 2014