Daily Bagel: Wimbledon changes up grass conditions
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: Looking back at the funny moments from Wimbledon 2011.
• The head groundsman at Wimbledon says the grass isn't slower, but it is playing differently.
The ball still comes off the grass at the same speed. But, as the courts are a bit harder, the ball bounces a bit higher. The courts are a bit harder because of the grasses we use, and also because we prepare them that way. We wanted the hardness because we wanted the courts to be in just as good shape on day 13 as one day one, and that’s what we’ve got. If the ball comes at you at knee height at 140mph, you’ve got no chance or returning it. If it comes at you at chest height, you’ve got much more chance of getting the ball back into play. That’s why we’re getting the rallies.
• Great read here in the New York Times Magazine on the Andy Murray-Ivan Lendl dynamic.
It’s fair to wonder why, if Murray can put the ball away at the end of a rally, he doesn’t do so earlier. What’s intriguing is that Murray is as capable as anyone of playing power tennis. He just doesn’t want to. For half a decade, a chorus of voices, on retainer and off, has urged Murray to play more assertively, shorten points and conserve energy. But Murray has refused such advice, or accepted it briefly then promptly reneged. According to Petchey, the former coach who guided Murray into the top 50, “that’s always been the big question with Andy. Is his game good enough as it is, or does he need to change?” His mother shares that ambivalence. “We brought in Ivan for a reason,” she acknowledges, then adds that she would hate to see him lose the aspects of his game that make him unique.
• Roger Federer tells the Wimbledon site that he used to think he couldn't lose on grass.
"I used to think I couldn't lose on grass, then the next thing you know, that's what happens. With the success I have had a Wimbledon I always arrive here under some pressure. But also, this is where I'm able to shift up a couple of gears because grass works to my strengths."
• Matt Cronin wonders if this is an age of dominance by the Big 3 or simply a complete lack of depth on the men's side.
So there are two ways to look at the dominance of this Big 3 heading into Wimbledon: either they are a generation apart, or the rest of the field since mid 2003 has been pretty average. As in most things in life, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, but unless the likes of Milos Raonic suddenly rises up and reaches his full potential or Murray answers the pleas of his countrymen for a British champion and wins Wimbledon, we will be debating this question through the US Open: does this generation contain a trio made out of real gold, or merely one that is spray-painted with the color to hide the cracks in its foundation?
• One of many articles on the effect of romance on McWozzilroy's games. My two cents: Let the kids have their fun. If they're not bothered, why should we be?
• Rafael Nadal inked a new deal with PokerStars.com. So now his list of sponsors includes an underwear deal with Armani, Bacardi and an online poker/gambling site. Interesting combo there, Rafa.
• The Legend of Francesca Schiavone continues: Comes back from 0-6 down in the third set tiebreaker and saves eight match points to win in 's-Hertogenbosch.
• Want to see SI's Jon Wertheim use the word "jackassdom"? Here you go.
• Foot Solders of Tennis introduces you to this year's Wimbledon qualifiers.
• Non-tennis: The NPR Music blog post that has everyone in the music industry talking. And probably sweating. Profusely. 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.