Daily Bagel: Varvara Lepchenko gets warm welcome in Russia
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: In honor of the If ... Stockholm Open, a look back at Robin Soderling's takedown of Roger Federer at the 2010 French Open. My favorite part comes at 7:25 when the man in the crowd shakes his head in disgust after a tremendous shot from the Swede.
• Uzbekistan-born Varvara Lepchenko, who recently became an American citizen, was relieved to find a positive reception in Moscow when she returned to the Soviet Union for the first time in 12 years.
"I'd seen one of Anna Kournikova's matches back when I was a junior, saw that from the stands they were screaming 'Go back to America!' in Russian," [Lepchenko] told R-Sport. Kournikova faced virulent criticism from anti-Americans for her perceived closeness to the U.S, but Lepchenko was surprised to see young fans chasing her autographs rather than denouncing her, a sign of the changing times. "I'm glad I'm getting that kind of reception, instead of what I thought might be unpleasant," added the 26-year-old, who was seeded 12th for the $740,000 event.
• Jacksonville, Fla., has been chosen as the site for the U.S. Davis Cup tie against Brazil in February. As for Fed Cup, the U.S. women will take on Italy in Rimini on indoor clay.
• The Telegraph catches up with Alexis Castorri, the psychologist who's worked with Andy Murray since February.
“When I looked at early films of him playing, he played with such happiness and excitement, so my initial thought was that he needed to bring back the zest. But I believe you start that off the court.... It’s natural that when someone puts their heart and soul into what they’re doing, they sometimes forget how much enjoyment they once took from it. Andy has lofty goals and he is hard on himself. In that situation, you need to remember that you love the battle, that’s why you are out there.”
• Venus Williams cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win over 15-year-old Belinda Bencic in Luxembourg on Tuesday. But keep an eye on the young Swiss, who is coached by Martina Hingis' mother, Melanie Molitor. Is "The New Hingis" the WTA's version of the "Baby Federer" curse?
• Meanwhile, Gael Monfils, back in tournament action after resting his knee, lost to No. 436th-ranked Patrik Rosenholm of Sweden.
• Russian tennis stars past and present (and Alex Ovechkin, of course) are back home in Moscow to support the Kremlin Cup. Here's WTA gallery featuring Maria Kirilenko, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Nadia Petrova, and even Alisa Kleybanova at the player party. Unfortunately, Petrova, Ekaterina Makarova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova all lost in Round 1.
• Tournament confirmations: Agnieszka Radwanska will start her year at the ASB Classic in Auckland New Zealand. Samantha Stosur has confirmed for the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina.
• Non-tennis: The Onion's A.V. Club lists their most hated movies of the 90's. 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.