Daily Bagel: The Victoria Azarenka likability factor

Thursday March 15th, 2012

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

• Rafael Nadal says he has "a fantastic rhythm," Ana Ivanovic is ready for some "girl booty shake," and Victoria Azarenka is more of a "Teach Me How to Dougie" girl. Enjoy the video of the relaxed nature of the Indian Wells players party.

• Over the last two years, tennis fans and journalists have demanded a dominant WTA No. 1 with a Slam. Their wishes were granted in the form of Victoria Azarenka. But unlike her predecessor, Azarenka has a serious likability problem and that's been evident in conversations I've overheard around the grounds. Fans either don't know her, don't care to know her, or just flat-out dislike her. As Steve Tignor writes, the new No. 1 has yet to capture the hearts of tennis fans. "There may be more to Vika than has met fans’ eyes so far," Tignor writes. "But for now her wins and her celebrations don’t inspire many to join in -- the woo is the first and last thing most people notice. After the last point today, Azarenka thrashed her arm in front of her over and over in an angry-looking victory display, then walked out to the middle of the court and thrust her index finger in the air. By that point, most of the audience that was still there had turned for the exits."

• Add Mike Bryan to the growing list of players who have been forced to withdraw from Indian Wells due to the stomach bug that has taken over the headlines. It's affected over 12 players, and numerous coaches, ball kids, umpires, fans, and journalists. Here's a look back at the 1988 U.S. Open, when the stomach flu ravaged the field and almost forced the cancellation of a day's play.

• Sometimes Rafael Nadal seems too good to be true. Reports Richard Evans, "Apparently, Marc Lopez, Rafa’s close friend who played doubles with Nadal on Wednesday night, smashed a racket when the pair were playing a doubles match here a couple of years ago. At practice the next day, Nadal told Lopez, 'Don’t ever do that again or we won’t play together anymore.' Lopez looked at him as if he was joking. 'No, I’m serious,' Rafa shot back. 'Don’t ever do it again.'"

• Doug Robson reports for USA Today on the growing income inequality within the ATP. It's a winner's Tour and shouldn't be handled like a welfare state, but when you live in an era dominated by three players, journeymen are going to get left out in the cold. "Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who have shared the top three ranking spots since 2007, have been more dominant in terms of prize money accumulation than any trio since the men's Tour was formed more than two decades ago. They've raked in between 20% and 26% of available prize money the past five years."

• If these pictures don't make tennis fans want to book a flight to Indian Wells next year I'm not sure what could.

• Jon Wertheim in condemnation of Michael Llodra. Peter Bodo says Llodra was "stupid" but not racist.

• Roger Federer's twins are growing up so quickly, no?

• Speaking of quick, here's a fun Q&A with Julia Goerges.

• Non-tennis: A year ago, Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami. The Big Picture looks at images from before and after.

See or read something that you enjoyed and want to share? Feel free to email or tweet us links to pieces from around the Internet that may have slipped past our radar.
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