Daily Bagel: Bidding farewell to Wimbledon
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: A very cool video about the Wimbledon engraver, who I admit, I am mildly obsessed with.
• Louisa Thomas for Grantland eloquently wraps up both the men's and women's final: When All Men Doubt You
For a time, it seemed as if Djokovic would accept the narrative that he had lost the ability to close out the biggest matches -- that he would let things slip away, would lose the big points. He sometimes seems to see himself as other people see him. He can project the air of someone who thinks he is highly competent, even the arrogance of someone who thinks himself more competent than anyone else -- but also the insecurity of someone who thinks he is good at everything but the best at no one thing. He can hit any shot, but no shot is his alone. He is underachieving, the loser in his last three major finals and in five of his last six. He loses his nerve during big points. He’s said so himself. What he has done hadn’t changed history. He doesn’t have the transcendent quality of Federer or the elemental force of Nadal. They are exemplary; he’s the class clown -- charming but frustrating, talented but disappointing. His long face has had that look a lot in the past two years, the look of disappointment.
He can seem to forget he is special. He can seem to forget how singular his game is. He can stretch for a ball, sliding into a split, direct a difficult backhand up the line, and then find the strength to right himself and recover. He can run, sprinting and cutting and lunging for hours. He can cut off an angle and send a ball dipping along the sharp trajectory of his choosing. He can go for lines and hit them; he can nail corners when the safer shot would land a foot inside. It’s as if he forgets he believes in magic, forgets he’s a mystic, forgets to do something brave.
• WTA Backspin on Petra Kvitova, and how she made us all believe again.
Oh, all right. I'll admit it. I HAD sort of given up on her. Not ENTIRELY, but until further notice. I no longer expected anything good, and I wasn't the only one, either. At some point, after experience has beaten reality into you enough times, you tend to shy away from the stove just to avoid the possibility of getting burned. In Kvitova's case, heading into this Wimbledon, while it was known that one couldn't look PAST Kvitova, there was a lingering, troubling thought that maybe what we THOUGHT we saw in 2011 had been something of a mirage. Of at least a wonderful daydream.
• The Women Who Serve blog ranks its top ten Wimbledon moments.
• Novak Djokovic will go down as an all-time great. He's already put together the numbers to prove it.
• John Branch for The New York Times takes on the bogus bathroom break. No one actually uses it to pee.
• And here's a great read on the bogus hand waving "apology" in tennis by Doug Robson for USA Today. No one is actually sorry.
"It's aggressively insincere," says Carillo. "We could probably do a fade on it and no one's going to miss it."
"It's just been part of our culture," says women's tennis pioneer Billie Jean King, who wouldn't mind if it went away.
Russia's Maria Sharapova, however, says it serves a purpose.
The reigning French Open champion with the steely mentality has her reasons for why it should stick around.
"I'm sorry," she said, "because I'd rather have finished it on a outright winner."
• Attacking the Net evaluates ESPN's Wimbledon coverage.
• Nick McCarvel for The New York Times looks back on Alexandra Stevenson's memorable semifinal run at Wimbledon in 1999.
• Laura Robson spent Wimbledon behind the cameras, commentating matches for BBC Radio, and she talks about what it was like to be on the outside looking in.
• Robson found herself on the cover of the British tabloids the day of the women's Wimbledon final after Eugenie Bouchard told reporters the two were no longer friends. Here's Robson's classy response on BBC when she took to the commentary booth for Bouchard's match against Kvitova that day:
Laura Robson just asked on @bbc5live if she was surprised to see herself on the front pages given she isn't in the Wimbledon final herself.— DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) July 5, 2014
Laura Robson, laughing, on @bbc5live: 'Bit awkward isn't it? This is her (Bouchard's) Wimbledon final, her moment...'— DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) July 5, 2014
Robson on @bbc5live: 'To make it about anything else other than the tennis was a bit silly in my mind.'— DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) July 5, 2014
Robson on @bbc5live: 'Today should be about her (Bouchard's) achievement and how incredible she's played the last two weeks.'— DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) July 5, 2014
• Sarah Lorge Butler for The New York Times on how one of Billie Jean King's dresses helped her connect with her mother.
My father, Barry’s brother, died in 1987. Barry passed away in 2008. My mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s. And for some reason my mother had never told my brother or sister about the dress, even though they were the family’s avid sports fans.
I’m only guessing here, but I think that for my mother, who had given up teaching to raise her family and then returned to the classroom after my father’s passing, the dress wasn’t sports memorabilia at all. It was a precious talisman that had nothing to do with King’s tennis and everything to do with what King stood for.
• Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon, but Eugenie Bouchard will win the marketing sweepstakes because that's just how the world works right now, writes Miguel Morales for Forbes.
Sex sells mostly because it’s one of the very few labels sponsors feel comfortable slapping on female athletes. For Kvitova, a question that will seldom be asked by much of the mainstream tennis media remains: How much does she need to win to start raking in the sponsorship figures Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki (and, soon, Eugenie Bouchard) make? Looks–which the sports biz slickly glosses over as “marketability”–figure in so heavily in the financials of female tennis stars. It’s one of the most dispiriting and enduring trends that continue to define women’s tennis and society’s consumption of sport.
• Kvitova's coach David Kotyza explains why the last three years have been so tough for his charge:
In the garden of their rented house in Wimbledon, Kotyza had spelt out the word 'pojd' -- Kvitova’s Czech exclamation for ‘come on!’ -- to help galvanize his charge. Sometimes, he indicated, she could be too humble and gentle-natured for her own good, too vulnerable to the distractions that assailed her after her win over Maria Sharapova three years ago.
“She came from a small town, and that can be an advantage, because she doesn’t fly in the sky,” he said. “She stays on the ground, very polite, very shy. She’s a lovely girl and I’m very happy to be part of her team.
“But from her first win her whole life completely changed. She had to face pressure that she could never have expected. She met a lot of people who were not real friends. It happens to many people in all sports, especially young girls. Now, finally, she has found herself with a clearer head, and she saved her best match for the final. That is the sign of the very finest players. I am so proud of her, because this was something unusual and unexpected.”
• Why don't more fashion designers -- I think we can all agree Stella McCartney needs a competitor -- get involved in tennis fashion?
• You can now subscribe to SI Tennis via RSS here.
• Non-tennis: Time to revisit this classic meme: Capybaras that look liked Rafael Nadal.
• And we'll end on this Instagram from Serena, posted on Friday: