Daily Bagel: Blind tennis a remarkable feat
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• This article and video on blind tennis is absolutely incredible.
The most important adaptation is the ball, which is larger and made of foam, wrapped around a plastic shell that holds the ball bearings. Other adaptations include a smaller court with a badminton net lowered to the ground, string taped along the lines and junior rackets with oversize heads. Players with some sight get two bounces, the completely blind three. Only one set is played, and an umpire calls the lines.
• Is railing against grunting sexist? Not necessarily. But it's not not sexist either, and that's something everyone should keep in mind when engaging in the grunting debate.
Nobody gives a care about male tennis grunts, because men are supposed to be animals—strong and virile and vital and whatever. Women are supposed to be dolls. So female tennis grunts are sexualized and ridiculed in ways that male grunts aren't. Women are pretty and graceful. We are not supposed to be strong or gross or human or publicly unhinged or particularly athletic (except for the kind of athleticism that keeps us slim). Muscle and sweat and exertion (and sexual agency, which is at the root of a lot of grunt jokes) defeminize us, and there's no greater crime for a woman than failing at womanhood.
• Great piece here by Christopher Clarey looking at the variety of "new" shots that have been invented to deal with the power and pace of the modern shot.
Shots like the lunging forehand flick of a slice that Roger Federer has popularized and that has been dubbed, for better or worse, the “squash shot.” Shots like Rafael Nadal’s shoulder-swiveling backhand slice, where he is already twisting to run in the other direction even though the ball is still on his strings. Shots like Novak Djokovic’s open-stance backhand that he can still hit with two hands with power from a near split.
• Novak Djokovic thanks you very much for your concern, but he's ready to move on. 2011 was soooooo yesterday's news.
The Godfather films couldn't be repeated -- look what happened when he tried a third -- and neither can Djokovic's 2011 season. The three majors are history, as is the 43-match win streak, the dominance over Nadal and that magical place where he could conjure the perfect shot. Those memories belong in a scrapbook, which is where Djokovic is trying to place them. Today is all that matters.
• Pete Bodo ponders the other forgotten Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro:
When it comes to the fine art of just hitting the crap out of the backhand, Almagro has no peer. His stroke is extremely clean, more so than the backhand of that highly stylized Frenchman, Richard Gasquet. At its best, the hard-hit one-hander just reeks of letting go, of abandoning yourself to this great, explosive act of, well, opening yourself up—understanding the psychological implications of that for the fan or viewer probably goes some way toward explaining why so many are fascinated by the one-handed backhand. By contrast, the two-hander is guarded, conservative, risk-averse.
• Tough battle between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Stanislas Wawrinka ended with a nice hug at the net and both men emotionally drained.
• Non-tennis: You know how they say people are either hardwired for "fight or flight"? Yeah, this is what "flight" looks like. 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.