HBR - Life’s Work: An Interview with Andre Agassi < 5min

I made a commitment to take ownership of my life. I started to get more connected, and then I just kept going with tangible daily goals. It wasn’t about a destination. Getting back to number one was something I was pretty convinced I’d never achieve. But that journey from rock bottom to the summit a second time was a great accomplishment for me. Without it I don’t know if I would believe in myself as much as I do when I face other challenges now. ... regardless of what the score is, the most important point is that next point. ... A great rival is like a mirror. You have to look at yourself, acknowledge where you fall short, make adjustments, and nurture the areas where you overachieve. There were times my rivals brought out the best in me; there were times they brought out the worst. They probably helped me win things I never would have otherwise; they also cost me titles. I don’t know how you quantify what it would have been like without a rival like Pete Sampras. I would have won more. But I think I would have been worse without him.

The Daily Beast - The Secret World of Tennis Gambling < 5min

One study concludes over 20 first-round pro tennis matches are fixed every year. Why? Because it's almost too easy to throw a match. ... The bookies knew something was up. Eleven bettors, nine of them based in Russia, had just put millions of dollars via the English sportsbook Betfair on Martin Vassallo Arguello beating Nikolay Davydenko in their match at the Orange Prokrom Open in Sopot, Poland on August 2, 2007. The wagers, which pushed the total betting volume to 10 times past average, came in after Arguello, ranked 87th in the world, had dropped the first set 6-2 to Davydenko, ranked 4th in the world. Davydenko eventually retired from the match in the third set, citing a stress fracture in his left foot. ... If the fix was in, no one was bothering to cover their tracks. ... Tennis is the third-most bet upon sport in the world and, between the ATP and the Women’s Tennis Association, there are 126 tournaments making up this year’s tour. The sheer volume of betting and matches makes spotting suspicious activity virtually impossible in all but the most obvious and reckless cases. ... Then there’s the sport’s inherent vulnerability to “spot fixing.” European sportsbooks allow bettors to wager on not just matches, but sets, games, and even individual points. ... Travel expenses alone can cost a tour player more than $100,000 per year, and a full-time coach starts at around $50,000 per year.

BuzzFeed - The Tennis Racket 5-15min

Secret files exposing evidence of widespread match-fixing by players at the upper level of world tennis can today be revealed by BuzzFeed News and the BBC. ... It has been seven years since world tennis authorities were first handed compelling evidence about a network of players suspected of fixing matches at major tournaments including Wimbledon following a landmark investigation, but all of them have been allowed to continue playing. ... The investigation into men’s tennis by BuzzFeed News and the BBC is based on a cache of leaked documents from inside the sport – the Fixing Files – as well as an original analysis of the betting activity on 26,000 matches and interviews across three continents with gambling and match-fixing experts, tennis officials, and players. ... Players are being targeted in hotel rooms at major tournaments and offered $50,000 or more per fix by corrupt gamblers. ... as the 2016 Grand Slam season begins on Monday with the Australian Open, former integrity chiefs from within world tennis are breaking ranks to accuse the sport of failing to stamp out match-fixing.

New York Magazine - ‘The Kids Think I’m a Shoe’ 10min

Nothing about Smith or the simple design of the sneaker itself — neither has changed much since 1971 — explains how Adidas was able to sell 7 million pairs by 1985. Or how that number had grown to 22 million pairs by 1988. Or why Footwear News named it the first-ever Shoe of the Year in 2014. Or how it surpassed 50 million shoes sold as of 2016. Or how the sneaker grew far beyond its start as a technical athletic shoe and became a fashion brand, its basic blank slate evolving and taking on new meaning and purpose. ... The sneakers weren’t even designed with Smith in mind. Adidas heir Horst Dassler made them in 1965 for the French tennis player Robert Haillet. ... It was the most technically advanced tennis sneaker of its time, one of the first made of leather in a field of canvas, with a herringbone bottom designed for use on clay courts.

GQ - Will Roger Federer Ever Be Done? 14min

Roger Federer was supposed to be finished. Or at least exiting gracefully, getting on with his transition to post-tennis things. But then, in January, after five years without a Grand Slam and a season sidelined by injury, he went ahead and won again. Not as the unflappable perfectionist but, for the first time, as a rangy underdog. In the immediate afterglow of the Australian Open, Federer brought GQ to his mountaintop home in Switzerland, where we learned about his life off the court and just how much longer he feels he can pull off the impossible.