Bryans' Record Weeks At No. 1
Bryans Reflect On Breaking McEnroe's Record
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan jointly set a new record today, 12 December 2011, for the most weeks atop the individual doubles rankings. The twins are tied with 271 weeks, overtaking fellow American John McEnroe who held the mark with 270. ATPWorldTour.com spoke with the pair in Miami to discuss the achievement, their game-changing moment in 2011, and their upcoming roles as father and uncle.
You two are now the all-time World No. 1 in doubles with 271 weeks. Talk about this achievement and where it ranks in your growing list of milestones.
Mike: It’s a great feeling to achieve the most weeks at No. 1. We didn’t really look at this record until this year. 271 weeks is an astronomical number. To achieve this record and surpass John McEnroe, who we’ve always looked up to, is awesome. This ranks up with our record of most team titles. It shows we were consistent throughout our whole career and we didn’t want to relinquish the top spot.
Bob: It is number two, right below getting married, and will soon be number three, after my wife gives birth to our daughter in January.
Have you thought about how long 271 weeks is? That's 2,731,680 minutes or in real world terms, over 26 marriages to Kim Kardashian. It's not one of those achievements you just check off, is it?
Bob: Haha. It’s felt more like 260 marriages to Kim Kardashian! Being on top is great but tough at the same time. You can’t be satisfied because there is always a pack of hungry wolves nipping at your heels. It you don’t work hard to run fast, you’ll get swallowed up.
Mike: 2.7 million? Wow, that’s a ton of minutes. It’s hard to fathom as it seems like just yesterday in 2003 when we got to No. 1 for the first time after winning Roland Garros and reaching the US Open final. It’s all happened fairly quickly, so to think we racked up 2.7 million minutes is hard to comprehend.
How special is it to surpass John McEnroe, who's not only a hero in American tennis but an iconic sports figure?
Bob: John McEnroe is a legend. He’s definitely one of the best doubles players in history. We respect and admire what he’s brought to the sport. To be grouped in the same category and mentioned in the same breath as McEnroe is an honour in itself. We play against McEnroe in exhibitions and he still shows what a talent he is.
Many people probably thought McEnroe's record was untouchable. How far do you think you can run this record up to where it won't be broken again?
Mike: Records are made to be broken. I’m sure there will be another team to come along and dominate doubles. All I know is that we have at least 2.7 million minutes to enjoy it!
Have you ever thought about how you're at 271 weeks, and Pete Sampras had 286 weeks & Roger Federer has 285 weeks at No. 1 in singles. You have 19 Masters 1000 titles and Federer has 18. Sampras had 64 titles, Federer's at 70 and you have 75 together? Quite a parallel there…
Bob: Sampras and Federer have accomplished unbelievable things. What they’ve done is remarkable. It’s an honour to be even asked this question or be associated with these legends. Singles and doubles are totally different, but it’s nice to be at the top of doubles. That’s what we do and it’s what we love. I’m just grateful that we’ve been able to do it for so long. We’ve now played on tour for 13 years and have been lucky to stay healthy. We still have a great time playing so we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. When our careers are over, I think we’ll look back and be proud of what we’ve accomplished.
Who would you like to thank for getting you to where you are today?
Mike: I’d like to thank my parents first and foremost. They taught us the game from a young age. They put a racquet in our hands at two years old. They made tennis fun for us and instilled a passion for the sport, which is still burning in us today. Next would be David Macpherson. We’ve finished No. 1 for six years since 2005 when we hired him. Since bringing him on board, we’ve been a lot more consistent, and he’s worked hard to help us improve each year. Without him, this would not have been possible. And then all of our family, friends, and fans from around the world. We have a huge support team that’s always there for us.
If you had to write a song about becoming the all-time doubles No. 1, what would the title be?
Bob: Tough question, but if I could come up with this on the spot, the racquets would be in the closet, and I’d be in Nashville recording hits.
You finished 2011 as the year-end No. 1 for a record seventh time. If you had to define your season with one game-changing match, which would it be and why?
Mike: The match of the year for me in 2011 was winning our Wimbledon semi-final battle with Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic. We were down 4-1 in the fifth and it was a pivotal comeback for us. The highlight of the year was winning our second Wimbledon trophy, but that semi-final match was the game-changer. If we didn’t win that match and win the final, I don’t know if we would have finished the year No. 1.
Bob: The second week of this year’s Wimbledon was crazy. Because of rain, we didn’t get a day off. Our match against Simon Aspelin and Paul Hanley was played over two days, and we barely escaped 16-14 in the fifth set. If we didn’t survive that match, our year could have gone a different direction.
This past weekend, you took part in Mardy Fish's annual charity event with musician Jake Owen. How important is friendship to success on the ATP World Tour?
Mike: Friendship is imperative to being successful. Bob and I have a very tight friendship. We’re twins and there’s nothing really closer to that. If we weren’t so close, I don’t think we’d have the ability to do so well. It’s one of our strengths and possibly an advantage we have over most teams.
We also have our buddies on tour – Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick, Sam Querrey, John Isner, James Blake, and a lot of the other American guys that we’ve played Davis Cup with for the last 10 years. It helps to have a bond with your countrymen when you’re traveling to tournaments around the world. We eat meals together and support each other. They are like our family, and this helps to make the tour feel like home.
Bob, your wife Michelle is due to give birth soon. How excited are you about your impending fatherhood?
At first it didn’t seem real but with every ultra sound and as her belly grows, it becomes more exciting. We’ve spent hours in stores looking at strollers and baby gear. Being a father is the most important job I’ll ever have and I can’t wait to meet our little girl.
Mike, how do you and Lucille feel about babysitting if Bob and Michelle need a night out?
We’re excited to babysit for Bob and Michelle. I’m really happy to be an uncle. They have the baby’s room all set up, so I’m looking forward to seeing it. I’m going to enjoy this as it’s like a trial run for me. I probably won’t have a kid for a few years, so I’m going to learn how to take care of one now… maybe I’ll change a few diapers.
Bob, how did you and Michelle decide on your baby girl's name, Micaela?
Micaela is Michelle’s grandmother’s middle name. Her family is Spanish and is the reason for the spelling. It’s also similar to Michelle and Michael so the name is making a lot of people happy.
Mike, did you have any input in the baby-naming process?
I had some small input but it basically boiled down to what they wanted. The name, Micaela, is a derivative of Mike, which is kind of cool. If I have a girl, I might now have to name her “Bobette” or “Bobina”, haha.
Bob, have you improved upon your time of 12 seconds to collapse a stroller?
Now that I have the stroller sitting in my living room, I have shaved eight seconds off my original time. One of my goals for 2012 is to be the world’s fastest baby transporter. (Watch Bob in action)
You're tied with the Woodies for most Grand Slam team titles. Is breaking their record your main priority in 2012 or do you have something else on your mind?
Mike: First of all, the Woodies have inspired us from day one and to share this Grand Slam record with them is something that we’re really proud of. Each year we set out to finish the year No. 1, and to do this, winning Grand Slam titles is part of the equation. If we keep working hard and focusing on this goal, then the titles and records will take care of themselves.
Bob: I’m going to take it one shot at a time in 2012… hopefully it adds up to great things.