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New Beginnings, But No End

DEUCE

Bryans© Getty ImagesMike and Bob Bryan celebrated their triumph at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters with Bob's baby daughter Micaela.

The year-end No. 1 duo for a record eighth straight year, the 34-year-old Bryan brothers have no plans of calling it quits even if they now lead separate lives off the court. 

The Bryan brothers need, and have, their own private statistician. Whenever Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan win a tournament or set another record – and that happens almost as frequently as hands-on father Bob changes his daughter’s Micaela’s nappies – the twins’ father Wayne fires up the laptop and updates the spreadsheet.

“Dad gets a kick out of it,” Bob and Mike have said, and there have been plenty of kicks for Wayne this season. It is the 10th successive year that his sons have qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, having made the cut every season since 2003. And when you include 2001, this is the 11th occasion that Bob and Mike have qualified for the season-ending championships.

“Bob’s priorities have shifted and I come third in his life now”

On this indoor court in London, they will be attempting to win the title for the fourth time, after victories in 2003, 2004 and 2009. This season, the Bryan brothers have won titles on four continents – in Australia, Europe, North America and Asia. They won the London Olympics to complete their career golden Grand Slam, and at the US Open they scored their 12th major, a record for the professional era. The Bryans finished the year as the World No. 1 team for the fourth successive year and for a record eighth time. Greenwich, welcome the most successful doubles pairing in the history of the sport.

You might not be able to tell them apart when they’re off the court – it’s a little easier during matches as Mike is right-handed and Bob’s a lefty – but you should recognise that no team in modern times has ever played doubles as well as these two chest-bumping Californian brothers. The Bryans grew up watching The Woodies so it was a special moment at the US Open for them when they moved one Slam above the Australian pairing of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge: “We looked up to the Woodies, so to break some of their records is unbelievable, because we idolise those guys. They are one of the reasons we play doubles.”

Then, when the brothers won the China Open in Beijing, Mike established a record for the most doubles titles, with his 84th tournament victory putting him one ahead of Woodbridge. (Bob is just a couple behind his brother, on 82.)

The days when the Bryans shared a house, hotel rooms, and occasionally even a toothbrush, have gone. They now live in separate houses – Bob is married, and Mike is getting married this month. It has been a busy year for Bob, who became a father for the first time. As Mike put it: “Bob’s priorities have shifted and I come third in his life now – but it’s cool, I’m part of his life and I’m doing the uncle thing pretty often”.

So their off-court lives have changed, but they have no intention of retiring anytime soon, having announced their intention to try to retain their Olympic doubles title at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. No one would be at all surprised if the Bryans qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the next four years, and possibly beyond, keeping their father busy. 

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