Wimbledon: Bryan Bros. In 11th Heaven


117969341The Bryan Bros. pocketed their record-tying 11th Slam doubles title on Saturday with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(2) win over the No. 8-seeded duo of Robert Lindstedt/Horia Tecau, equaling the standard of Todd Woodbridge/Mark Woodforde.  The win came after by-the-skin-of-their-teeth decisions over Simon Aspelin/Paul Hanley in the fourth round (16-14 in the fifth) and Michael Llodra/Nenad Zimonjic in the semis (9-7 in the fifth).  Afterward, they spoke with the press.  Here are some highlights:

Q: How will you summarize the game today?

MIKE BRYAN: Well, I mean, it was an early break in the first two sets, so we got off out of the blocks pretty quick.  We're a good front-running team, so that give us a lot of confidence. From yesterday we didn't have a lot in our legs.  We knew we had to finish it off in three or four. You know, it was a big-serving match.  Came down to the breaker in the third.  We played a good breaker.

Q: The third set was a problem.

BOB BRYAN: It was tight.  Those guys started serving well.  They had a day to think about the match, which might have hurt them in a way, because they came out a little over probably jacked and they hit some double-faults. We got the early break, and sometimes that's all it takes on grass.   We played a five-setter yesterday.  We didn't have a chance to think about it or get nervous about it.  We came out there in rhythm from yesterday's match, which helped us.

Q: There's no truth to the rumor that the 11th is easiest, is there?

MIKE BRYAN:  No.  But it was.

Q: For those of us who weren't able to follow you, so many ups and downs having to play so many matches.  Can you summarize the week?

MIKE BRYAN:  It was a tough week.  I mean, the first week we were on the schedule three days in a row TBA and we didn't play.  We knew it was going to get busy in the second week. One match was two days long, the 16-14.  We were taking one at a time.  We were scraping and clawing.  We didn't have a lot of time to even think about the next round.  We were getting back from the courts at 10 o'clock at night, massaging, ice bathing, and just waking up and coming right back out to the courts. We played 1 o'clock and noon maybe four days in a row.

BOB BRYAN:  Yeah, now that I think about it, our two Wimbledon titles we came from a break down in the fifth.  The times we've cruised to the finals we've lost, so it's weird how that works.

Q: This must be one of your best performances in a Grand Slam final.

MIKE BRYAN:  Yeah.  I mean, we've had a couple good ones.  This one felt really good.  We weren't really threatened on our serve.  I don't think we faced a break point, did we?

BOB BRYAN:  I don't think so.

MIKE BRYAN:  So this one was definitely pretty smooth.  U.S. Open 2005 I think we won in under an hour.

Q: You played pretty traditional doubles, no I-formation, just…

MIKE BRYAN:  No, we don't like to talk a lot.  We just like to keep it simple.  We play quick and in rhythm.  We're too big to get down in the I-formation.  We're too slow to get out of there.

BOB BRYAN:  We're one of the last surviving kind of traditional teams.  A lot of the teams are going to the I.  I would say 80, 90 percent of the guys are down in the middle of the court, playing that kind of brand.  So we're one of the last guys left.

Q: There's a chance for error in that.

BOB BRYAN:  Yeah, I mean, you can get lit up by a great returning team.  Sometimes it's kind of a bluff to hide weaknesses in your serve-and-volley game.  We just have to play straight up.

Q: Are you easing out of the chest bump now?

MIKE BRYAN:  We did one in every match up until the final.  Did we do one?

BOB BRYAN:  I think so.

MIKE BRYAN:  We're not phasing it out.  I mean, I don't know even know what we did when we won.  I just think I put my arms up and we hugged, but it's a blur.

Q: There's a shiny bobble on your finger.  Can you talk about how that's changed things?  Are you still in the same house?

MIKE BRYAN:  Well, Bob's married.  He lives in Miami now.  I'm on the West Coast.  We're on different coasts, which is different, but we're always together on the road.  We haven't been home since January. I eventually want to be near Bob.  I think I'm going to try to get him to come to California again. When you moving back?

BOB BRYAN:  I don't know, man.  I'm trying to convince this guy to come to Florida and he's trying to convince me. But, yeah, I mean, it feels the same.

Q: So preparation-wise just…

BOB BRYAN:  We're still committed to our tennis, and we're working as hard as ever.  You know, I'm married.  We're still all traveling together.  He's got his girl with him 52 weeks out of the year.  We're in the same house right now.  We're all getting along great, which is good. It's not easy for everyone living together.  It's not natural, I mean, for the girls.  They have to be twins pretty much, because they're hanging out nonstop. But, you know, this week it was smooth.  It's not going to change for a while.  We're going to be in this meat grinder for another four or five years.

Q: Mike, no pressure for you to settle down here?

MIKE BRYAN:  Yeah, there is.  Thanks for bringing it up.  I've got a limited amount of time.

BOB BRYAN:  Shot clock is running down.

MIKE BRYAN:  End of the year is going to get hairy.

Q: Can you talk about the meaning of this one?  It's No. 11, a significant marker.  Do they become a blur?  It's been a while since you got one here.  Talk about the meaning of this one.

MIKE BRYAN:  I mean, this is a Wimbledon title.  This is as special as it gets.  You know, I always thought we'd play our best at Wimbledon, and we've lost three heartbreaking finals.  To get on that board again, to have two Wimbledon titles, is really special. And then to equal the Woodies, a team that we idolized, the greatest team in our mind, is unbelievable.  I mean, to get their title record and get the Grand Slam record, I mean, I'm trying to figure out what's left. I mean, we'd love to try to get to 12 and do that at the Open, but those guys have been really gracious.  They're the first to come up to us and congratulate us.  Mark was in L.A. when we broke the 61 record. But, you know, it's all a blur.  This week was just so quick.  We weren't even thinking about 11 until Mark Woodforde came up and said, Congrats on getting that 11th.

Q: And why the problems here?

BOB BRYAN:  I think, you know, you feel like you're playing with the house chips.  You get over that tough one where you could have lost, it kind of releases a bunch of pressure.  When you win something big in a casino you keep pushing, you know. That's what it feels like, you know.  Sometimes in these tournaments when you're down match points you feel like you've faced death.  I don't know, it brings something out of you, your best stuff. But as far as why we've struggled here, I don't think we've struggled.  I mean, ten times I think we've been in the semifinals or better.  It's just getting over that hump, which, I don't know, I think you always need a little bit of luck to win a slam.  A lot of guys talk about that. The Huss/Moodie was one we should have won, but we kind of underestimated those guys and they they nipped us in the butt [sic].  The others ones were just big-serving matches against Nestor , Zimonjic, and Llodra. So I don't know, I'll take these two.  I'm happy with these two.  Next year we'll go for the third.  But this is very sweet for us.

Q: How many match points did you survive total here?


MIKE BRYAN:  We were down 4-1 in the fifth yesterday.  We weren't down any match points.

Q: Mike, you looked a little irritable yesterday.

MIKE BRYAN:  Yeah, I mean, we knew that the final is the next day; we wanted to finish it off in straights.  We had three match points in the third-set breaker.  They were weird match points. One Bob hit around the net pole.  It was just crazy.  So we were getting pretty frustrated.

BOB BRYAN:  Starting chirping a little bit to each other.

MIKE BRYAN:  Yeah, started talking to each other.  I'm never going to play with you again. And then, you know, just a little bit of luck at 4-2.

BOB BRYAN:  Sometimes when — yeah, we were chirping, chirping, and then you're down a break.

MIKE BRYAN:  You just loosen up.

BOB BRYAN:  It kind of goes quiet, goes calm.  You don't hear anything.

MIKE BRYAN:  I started putting my towels in my bag on the changeover because I didn't want to forget my extra towel.  I have 15 of them, but I got a lot of friends back home. So once I started doing that — we hadn't broken in over an hour and a half, two hours, so I didn't think we were going to break again.  So I don't know.

Q: Have you ever talked of retirement?

BOB BRYAN:  You know, we talk about it a lot.  I think we can see the finish line now, which makes it easier to work hard.  We see our time out here as I think five or six more years.  You look at Nestor.  He's 39, almost turning 40.  The guy's just having a great time still and he's playing well. I think eight years ago, Don Johnson, at 32, was the oldest guy on the tour.  But doubles players' career lifespan has changed.  I don't know what it is.  Maybe it's the scoring, the way the game is set up with the ranking system. I think we're going to milk it as long as we can.  We've talked to veterans that have retired, like Eltingh or Haarhuis.  They're guys are like, Jeez, I wish we would have kept going. We'll keep going.

Q: Do you two get along outside tennis?

BOB BRYAN:  Yes, we do.


Q: There must be a bad time there.

BOB BRYAN:  No, we get along.

MIKE BRYAN:  We do.  We walk in the house, we go into the music room and we're jamming at night for a half hour. First thing in the morning, I hear Bob on the piano, and I go down there and I plug in my guitar.  Yeah, I mean, we have a blast together.  We share the same DNA. I mean, we have our fights, but…

Q: You mentioned Nestor.  The average age is obviously up there.  Are there prospects?  Are there Ryan Harrisons and Dimitrovs of doubles where you are like, This is the next generation?

BOB BRYAN:  Unfortunately that has kind of changed with — the singles players infusing doubles has cut a lot of jobs.  It's hard with the way the rankings system is set up. If you're not playing Masters Series and going deep in slams you're not in the top 20, which is where you need to be in doubles to really make a great living. It's hard.  There's not a lot of guys coming up like we did, that are committed to doubles, that are able to break in.

Q: Any singles guys like 50 to 80 that you say, “This guy, if he doesn't cut it in singles, he's got a future in doubles?”

MIKE BRYAN:  Yeah, I mean, Raonic. Yeah, I mean, everyone when they come on the tour, they're like, I'm going to go singles.  I mean, there's a few nasty guys, if they wanted to go to doubles…Yeah, I mean, like Federer, if he wanted to…

Q: He's still top 50, I think.

BOB BRYAN:  Yeah, sometimes it's like a pride thing for these guys.  When their singles start to taper off, they're never like, Nah, I'm just going to go just play doubles. For us it was an early decision.  Yeah, I mean, there's a bunch of guys that could probably do it.  If they could focus on doubles, they could make a lot of money and have a great career.  It's a pride thing.  We're singles players, and I don't feel like I'm a player if I'm just playing doubles.

Q: Do you have an idea in your head of how many slams you can win?

MIKE BRYAN:  It's been a good last few years.  We won two last year.  I think we've been in the finals of the Aussie Open seven of the last eight years.  The doubles specialists, they're aging, and we're still on the young side at 33.  You know, I think we're hitting our peak.  We won 11 titles last year. We haven't set a goal, like we want to get to 16 or Federer's number or whatever.

BOB BRYAN:  Taking it one match at a time.

Q: Azarenka told us a tear-jerker story about her grandma.  When you get in touch with your grandmother and she asks about your experience at Wimbledon this year, what do you say?

BOB BRYAN:  This title, my grandpa just went in for surgery on Wednesday.  He's almost pushing 90.  We have four grandparents that are pushing 90.

MIKE BRYAN:  They're all 90.

BOB BRYAN:  He went in for a serious surgery.  He had a cancerous tumor cut out.  He went in the hospital, so this one was for him.  Right before he went in for the surgery, we won that 16-14 in the fifth. I know he was really scared to go in, and he's like, “Take me, I don't care.”  We feel like in some certain way, we're keeping them going with our tennis.  My grandma has marked off every point we ever played in our whole career, which is wild.  She's got a stack of yellow note pads this deep. So they're following it closely.  Whatever we can do to keep them happy, give them a little joy.

Q: What's her name?

MIKE BRYAN:  It's Alice Bryan.

Q: Have you been talking to Todd Woodbridge at all?

MIKE BRYAN:  Yeah, we see him every day in the locker room.   See more of Mark.

Q: Any jawing about the record?

MIKE BRYAN:  No, they're always supportive.  Mark, before we walked out there, he looked us in the eyes, he's like, Good luck, really sincere, which makes us feel good. They're not jealous about their records.  You know, they have their place in history.  They're in the Hall of Fame.  They won six Wimbledons.  I mean, they have a case, and they're the best team, you know. We have a case now, obviously.  But they're really cool guys.

Q: What do you think when you hear people talk about Roger, of course he's slowing down because he's nearing 30?  As you said, you're on the young side of 33.  Secondly, you have Tiger following Jack, and Roger was pretty outspoken about how he was chasing Pete's titles.  Why do you not look at the titles?

MIKE BRYAN:  We do.  I mean, we do.  This is our first press conference of the tournament.

BOB BRYAN:  I mean, that 61 record was big on the horizon.  Right after we broke their record, we were looking at this 11.  We did that pretty quick.  We're tied with those guys. I don't know, it's an honor.  We just got to let it seep in a little bit.  Every slam we give a hundred percent.  We don't want to say we're going for 20 because if we don't get there, it's going to be a letdown. We're happy with what we've done.  We're not content or satisfied.  But, you know, we have smiles on our faces when we walk by our trophy case in the morning.  I mean, how this career has gone has been a storybook for us.

Q: You're one ahead of Nadal now in slam titles.  Is catching Federer possible, 16?

BOB BRYAN:  No, it's not.  That's an ugly number, man.

MIKE BRYAN:  That's way up there.

Q: Who do you like in the singles tomorrow?

MIKE BRYAN: I don't know.  I think Djokovic has had his number this year.  Maybe he's got a little bit of a mental edge.  But, you know, he's really happy he's No. 1 now.  He could let down.

BOB BRYAN: He's a good buddy of ours, Djokovic.  Nadal has his locker right next to us.  He came up and said good luck to us.  They're both good guys.

MIKE BRYAN: They're both really loose, too.  They're relaxed and joking around.