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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Is Sloane Stephens the Robert Griffin III of tennis?

http://youtu.be/MOC1woYkyM8

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

• Video: 94 shots, two minutes, one groan at the end. Tough training from Monica Puig in the Las Vegas heat.

ESPN The Magazine's Howard Bryant on hype and the struggle of living in your own shadow: Is Sloane Stephens the RGIII of tennis?

For now, her struggles have been massaged into a different narrative -- that Stephens is a "big tournament" player who raises her game for grand slams. This idea is a compliment to the enormity of Stephens' talent, but if she realized early in her career that she had the ability to be a top-20 player for the next 10 years, she is also discovering that her game is nowhere near good enough to make her a transcendent, elite player. Stephens is finding that talent is not enough. And much like with [Redskins quarterback Robert] Griffin, Stephens is watching as other less hyped players such as Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep produce better results.

In his blog from Indian Wells, Tom Tebbutt has a crazy story about Canadian pro Peter Polansky and a spider bite.

• Tom Perrotta on why there's still hope for Roger Federer.

Federer's moxie has long been underrated, largely because he used to win most of his matches with what looked like little effort.

But fighting through a tennis match takes more than desire. For Federer, it requires speed, and until recently he had been a few steps slow. For all of his ups and downs in Dubai, Federer's first step -- and especially his range to his right, when running down forehands -- looked almost like the Federer of old.

"I'm just happy that I'm healthy again and that I can focus on tactics and not focus on, 'Am I feeling all right?'" he said. "It was a long time. I was fighting it, you know, all the way from Indian Wells [last March]."

Federer will be 33 in August and all anyone wants to know is: Can he win another Grand Slam singles title? For sure, he can. And his victory in Dubai will (ever so slightly) improve his chances with a nice boost in confidence.

• Ross Hutchins has been appointed the new tournament director of the Aegon Championships.

• Amid all the speculation surrounding the league, Andy Murray gives the IPTL his full support.

• More details on the Althea Gibson movie, which is still in need of funding.

• Non-tennis: RIP, Helvetica.

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