Bryan Brothers Blog From Wimbledon
by ATP Staff|
Sunday July 9, 2006
Hey everyone, Bob here. Well, this is it, the last of our blogs. Mike and I just have had an amazing 24 hours. After the match, Mike and I did drug testing and press obligations. At 10 p.m., before leaving the club, we were given our trophies. They had just been freshly engraved with our names and seeing those shiny silver bowls helped confirm that we were actually the Wimbledon Doubles Champions.
Our Agent and great friend, John Tobias, made reservations at a restaurant in Wimbledon Village to have a celebration dinner. There were 12 of us and we all reminisced about the fortnight, made toasts, and scarfed down huge bacon burgers. It felt so good to get food in our systems. We were drained from the match and with all the post match activities, it had been 10 hours since we had eaten.
At midnight we finished up dinner and walked down the street to see if we could sneak into one of the busy bar/nightclubs in the Village. There was a line outside of Finch's that went halfway down the street. It was the last night this place was in business, so a ton of locals showed up to give the place a farewell. We would have waited in that line forever but John found the owner who was a tennis fan, watched the finals, and was happy to take us through the kitchen and in through the back door.
He looked after us all night and made sure we had the royal treatment. The music was great and we all sang and danced until we were drenched in sweat and the lights came on at 3 am. When I got home, I showered up and tried to get to sleep. It was a tough task though...my adrenaline was still pumping from the match, the music was still beating in my ears, and I didn't want the night to end.
I woke up early this morning and starting returning the 150 new emails that were in my AOL account. I'm so impressed by Andy, James, and Mardy who were some of the first to congratulate us. Andy called my phone 5 minutes after we had walked off the court and he and Mike had a great chat. He seems eager as ever to get back on the court and start tearing it up again.
This morning, we brought our match outfits and trophies over to the site to do studio interviews, photoshoots, and to sign items for the Newport Hall of Fame Museum. Also, we went to the tailor and were fitted for our tuxedos that we'll wear to the Wimbledon Ball tonight. We made it back to the house around 2:30 pm, just in time to watch the men's final. It was a great match but I won't lie, I fell asleep 2 or 3 times. The late night last night has been getting the best of me.
Mike and Jenn have been spending the last couple hours packing up the bags for our Monday morning flight. They're trying to condense the 12 bags into 6. It could be impossible and we'll probably end up paying an arm and a leg in overweight baggage. We're not going to complain though. The prize money office at Wimbledon just cut us the biggest check of our careers. The money at these events is always great, but the feelings of victory and these memories will be with Mike and I long after the money is gone.
Well, I can't wait to get home to California tomorrow. I haven't been in my own bed since February and am looking forward to seeing my mom. The ATP wants us to fly straight from London to New York to do a press tour. Unfortunately, Mike and I had to decline. Letterman and Regis were possibly in the works but we are mentally and physically spent. Getting home for a couple days before our World Team Tennis matches in Kansas City on Friday will hopefully pay dividends when we're playing at the US Open later this summer.
It's been an absolute pleasure to blog for you...and a lot of fun. London was a hell of trip!
Saturday July 8, 2006
Hey everyone, Mike here again.
I hope you understand if we postpone writing our blog until tomorrow. As you can imagine it's been very hectic since winning the doubles title today. I have 20 missed calls and 150 emails and it's 11pm and we still haven't had anything to eat. We're just about to head out to dinner now.
The only downside today was that Bob and Venus missed out in the mixed doubles final. But check out the photo of Bob giving Venus a chest bump... I'm sure he can give you more details on that tomorrow.
So stay tuned tomorrow for our victory celebration blog. But right now it's time to party!!
Friday July 7, 2006
Hi everyone, Mike here.
Let's start today with a little Roger story. An inside scoop on that jacket of his. Now, not too many players would be given a free pass by the guys in the locker room to wear a sports coat out to play a match. But when it comes to Roger he can pretty much do what he wants because 1) he's Roger and 2) he is such a humble champion and friendly guy nobody thinks he has a big head just because he's wearing a jacket.
With Roger and Jonas starting at 1pm and Bob and I playing Knowles & Nestor at the same time, I got to see Roger for a while today before we went out. My girlfriend Jenn asks me what he's like. He always looks very relaxed in the locker room and you wouldn't know it but he's quite the prankster. He's always laughing and there's no hint of an ego. He was talking to Jonas before they went out.
Now, to the jacket. First, he never takes it out of his locker except for when he's about to go out to play and he doesn't even put it on in the locker room. I suspect someone has it dry cleaned for him after each match because it's always hanging in a type of brown suit cover. Players may have a little joke with him about it but no-one gives him any crap. He owns Wimbledon so he can do what he wants.
Today we sensed rain was in the air so we had a quick hit indoors on a fast supreme court at a three-court facility across the street from Wimbledon. Normally it's four to a court when it's raining but we got there early enough. There was no sign of Roger or Rafa - they must have warmed up outside earlier before it rained.
Hanging around in the locker room we exchanged a little banter with our opponents. We've become pretty good friends with Knowles and Nestor in recent years, but when we were fresh out of college and pulling moves like the chest bump they didn't like that too much. I remember one tough match in Indy when we were rookies and they thought we were too energized. But we've played so many times now and they are probably two of our closest friends so we feel comfortable to joke around even before a match.
The ref kept coming in and telling us that we had half an hour before the courts would be ready for play. But Knowles would come up soon after and say that 'Our match just got canceled, you can go home now.' After their 23-21 quarterfinal win they did a chest bump on match point. When Knowles came back to the locker room he knew we had been watching the match and apologized to Bob for taking our move.
Our massage therapist finally figured out how to work the interactive TV, so right now I'm able to watch Bob and Venus play their mixed doubles semifinal. In fact, they've just won and are through to the final. The interactive element only seems to work 50 percent of the time. Sometimes you have to turn the thing on and off.
It's nice to see that the doubles final (against Santoro/Zimonjic) is scheduled for Centre Court tomorrow, following the ladies' singles. The past three years the doubles final has been played on Court 1. We get 18 tickets between us and I'm letting Jenn and coach Dave handle the assignments. There are nine people in the main box, which is right next to the royal box. We're pretty superstitious so we'll try to have the same people sitting in the same spots as they did when we won our earlier match on Centre Court against Dlouhy/Vizner. So that means Dave, the girls, our agent, the head guy from Adidas (our boss!), and our friends from Chelsea whom we stayed with during Queen's. Another nice thing about making the Wimbledon final is that it means you'll get invited back for the champions' events after you turn 35.
Tonight I took the press duties as Bob was playing mixed. That included Wimbledon radio, Sirius satellite radio and an interview with the local Camarillo paper.
So tomorrow is the big day. The Wimbledon title is the one Grand Slam trophy we haven't won, so you can't put that totally out of your mind. Only a few teams ever achieve that so if we can do it we will have our piece of history and then can play the rest of our careers perhaps with a little less pressure. It's also great to have reached a seventh consecutive Grand Slam final. We're very proud of that.
Anyway, thanks for reading all my posts during the past two weeks. I hope you've had fun with the blog like I have. Wish us luck tomorrow.
Thursday July 6, 2006
This is Bob. It's 8 o'clock here in London and I just rolled in the door. My tennis bag is stuffed. I brought home 5 big bottles of water and 4 official Wimbledon towels. These towels (see photo of me and coach Dave) have been a long tradition at Wimbledon and players make a habit of stealing as many as they can get their hands on. They make great gifts.
For every match there are two new towels on your chair. When the match finishes, the ball boys try to snatch them from you, but if you shove them deep in your bag and run, they're yours. I played two mixed doubles matches today... I was two for two with the matches, but more importantly, I was 4 for 4 with the towels.
Venus and I had some good wins today against some tough teams. We were down a break in both matches but were able to battle back and win in straight sets. In our second match against Leander Paes and Samantha Stosur, we were scheduled to play at 5:15 pm on court 2. At 5:15, three of us were suited up and ready to go but Stosur was nowhere to be found. She was back at her house relaxing. I guess she thought she was finished for the day. At 6 o'clock, Venus and I were wondering why we didn't get a default. The WTA tour claimed responsibility for not informing Stosur and said she wasn't to blame. The situation was a little frustrating but it felt good to earn the victory the old fashioned way.
While I was at the courts grinding it out, Mike was enjoying his day off in the city. He and Jenn shopped around a little, saw Pirates of the Caribbean, and then watched the end of my match on the BBC. Mike and I always root for each other to win mixed matches. We made a pact long ago that every dime we make on or off the court, we would share. So basically, this week, I'm working overtime for Mike's lazy ass.
Mike and I don't only share money. We also share our houses, cars, clothes, and Sports Illustrated once wrote that we even share the same toothbrush. Untrue... that's a nasty rumor. Thanks Dad! Speaking of my Dad, he's back home in Camarillo, CA with my mom, watching our matches on the internet. My parents always wake up at the crack of dawn and follow the live scoring from their computer. I can't wait for them pick us up at the airport in L.A. and take us to get some good Mexican food. England is definitely not known for it's cuisine and I'm starting to crave a chile verde burrito from our local spot, Somis Market.
It's the semis of Wimbledon tomorrow. I think I can hold off on that burrito for a couple more days. This is what we play for.
Wednesday July 5, 2006
Hi everyone, Mike here.
It's been a long and frustrating day, so just a quick one tonight. With all the rain today I had to hang around all day before we got on the court around 6.15 and unfortunately we took our first casualty. Corina and I got spanked 6-2, 6-4 by Wayne and Cara Black. Wayne has stepped out of retirement to play. I was trying to conserve a little energy and I guess I needed to go 100 percent to get it done. But the little mosquitoes were too good for us; they played well.
Earlier in the day Bob and I did a live ESPN interview. With no Americans left in the singles draws I guess ESPN are looking for any American angle they can find. The blog got a quick plug, so that was good.
Waiting around for the mixed I watched a bit of the epic Knowles-Nestor 23-21 win over Aspelin-Perry. Both teams had multiple match points and it was compelling viewing. But at 19-all we had to go out for the mixed. I got broken in the first game - I think my mind was still on that men's doubles match, as Bob and I play the winners.
The doubles schedule changes a bit now thanks to the amazing efforts of Jonas Bjorkman, who won a five-setter today to advance to the singles semifinals. He's also still in the doubles and the mixed. Because he won't play his doubles quarterfinal till Thursday, it will now be Friday that both doubles semifinals are played, with the final still likely to be played on Saturday as scheduled.
As Bob mentioned the maid came in and cleaned up beautifully. Worth every penny we paid her. But we still have a little curtain problem. One of Montse's friends pulled a curtain rod off the wall, so we're going to lose a little of the security deposit there. So it's up to Bob now to win another round or two in the mixed to cover expenses.
I watched a little of the World Cup soccer again today and the more I watch the more I don't see what all the fuss is about. Sure, the concept of the World Cup is exciting, bringing together the best teams once every four years with soccer-made fans so invested in the outcome. But the game itself doesn't do much for me. It's been pretty boring, to be honest. Very few goals have been scored and inevitably I'm in the bathroom when someone does finally get a goal. We need more action, fellas.
Hang on a minute... Just fighting with Bob again about who gets the master bedroom tonight. This one is an ongoing battle.
Well, that's it for today. Not my best stuff. Probably just a 6 out of 10. These two-week blogs are tough! Thanks for hanging in there with us.
Tuesday July 4, 2006
Hey Guys, Bob here. Happy 4th of July! It's 7:30 pm and we all just arrived back to our house. We are relieved to see that the maid we hired has this place squeaky clean. She even did the heaps of laundry that had been piling up in our garage.
I think we might have made history today at Wimbledon. We could have been the only players to ever practice on the main courts wearing colored clothes. I don't know how the spies didn't see us earlier. Eventually, 30 minutes into our practice, a woman ran out and put a stop to the "madness." We have been so used to practicing at Aorangi Park where there aren't as many rules. Wimbledon has strict regulations and I've heard that they'll only warn you once. Next time, it won't be a scolding, they'll just have a sniper take us out.
Well, It was a good day for us at the courts. Mike and I won our quarterfinal match out on Center Court. I was getting goose bumps when we started the long walk through the clubhouse out to the court. Players walk through a maze of hallways lined with pics of tennis legends. You can almost hear the voices of former champions whispering, "Here you go...are you ready?" After passing a beautiful glass case of Wimbledon trophies, you get to a set of purple double doors that lead onto the court. Strangely, our record was 0 and 2 out on that court, but today felt different.
We weren't happy to be there nor distracted by the surroundings. We were on a mission to advance and it didn't matter if that match was being played at a public park, we were hungry to get the win. But with all that said, it was definitely good to get rid of any jinx that might play with our minds later in the tourney.
Tennis players are extremely superstitious. From using the same shower stall to the way the racquets are turned in our bags, we're all pretty much nut jobs. If you watch Nadal on the change over, he'll spend 90% of the time, not drinking water, but aligning his water bottles just perfectly. Mike and I once ate at the same terrible Chinese restaurant for 20 straight nights in Paris. By the end of the tournament we were gagging on the food and had both shed 10 pounds.
After the match today, we did 40 minutes of press requirements. It seems that most of the questions that we get from journalists these days are about Andy and the state of USA tennis. The boys haven't had the best results at the slams this year but I think Andy, James, Mardy, and Robbie are due for great hard court seasons.
All right, I'm going to grab a bite and watch the end of the Italy-Germany World Cup game. We both have a light day tomorrow...one mixed doubles match each. Supposedly, some storms are coming our way. We've been lucky with the weather so far. Along with the strawberries and cream, Wimbledon just isn't Wimbledon without the rain.
Monday July 3, 2006
Hey, it's Mike back at it again. Last night I slept a hell of a lot better because Bob finally gave up the master bedroom. After he saw the bags under my eyes I think he felt sorry for me & decided to be a good twin brother. Actually, I held one of the fans for ransom & he had the choice of either giving up the master bedroom and gaining a fan or sleeping in the inferno again - I think he made the smart choice. Plus, I returned a lot better today, so I think the move is looking permanent.
We played first on this morning at noon, so we had to wake up fairly early. We had Jen's famous pancakes for breakfast. Does anyone else out there slather their pancakes with peanut butter and syrup? That's the only way to do it in the Bryan household. It turns them into little belly bombs, so we stay full for much longer. All the stores were closed yesterday, so we had to borrow syrup from my mixed doubles partner Corina Morariu. I'm really happy that she's recovered from the broken foot she suffered in a car accident a few months ago. She and Justine Henin-Hardenne have two of the sweetest one-handed backhands in the game. Corina's had a really tough first week at Wimbledon - she's made it all the way to the second week without playing a match yet. Ha ha. But you gotta give it to her - She made it through watching several of her boyfriend Justin Gimelstob's matches and sometimes watching can be tougher than playing. Just ask my parents - they're back home in California watching the scores tick by on the internet.
It's been another really hot day here at Wimbledon. The thunderstorms are supposed to roll in later in the week, but for now the temperature is almost 90 degrees. It's so hot that the grass is starting to dry out. I took several dives in the match today & it felt like I was diving on concrete. But it's worth it in the end, the heat seems to make the ball fly faster through the air - which is always a nice help for our serves. Our stringer Greg Dixon always strings our rackets a few pounds tighter in the heat to make sure we have plenty of control. He always strings our rackets perfectly, which is important because it can make the difference between an inch or an inch out on break point. Greg is a machine - he must string over 50 racquets a day. He strings for Sharapova, Roddick, Ljubicic, Knowles & Nestor, and lots of other players too.
On a side note... Congrats to Jonas Bjorkman for making the quarterfinals of the singles - he beat his doubles partner Max Mirnyi in a close five-setter. Hopefully they got into it out there and aren't on speaking terms anymore. Nah, just kidding.. but not totally. Ha ha.
So onto the big news, today is our coach Dave Macpherson's 39th birthday (see picture above). We were happy to get him a win out there today - he said to my girlfriend during the match that it was his only birthday wish. Although I think he would have been happier if we surprised him with a visit from his wife Char. He's been on the road with us for a straight nine weeks now in Europe, so he's itching to see Char and his daughters Allie and Isabella. But we've still got some work to do over here, so hopefully he'll be able to make it through a few more lonely nights.
Right now, I'm back at the house kicking my feet up while Bob is still at the courts slaving away in mixed. I think he & Venus have a great shot at winning the title this year. That would put him one mixed doubles title ahead of me though, so I'm hoping Corina & I will make it tough on him.
We've been getting some good rehearsal time in this week for our new original song. The ATP asked us to put a song together for the Doubles Revolution commercial. It's going to air all summer on ESPN, so we're putting the finishing touches on it. The ATP has been doing a great job promoting doubles this year - we can tell that it's really starting to make a difference. If you haven't already, you should check out the new Doubles Revolution web site.
Sorry folks, that's all I've got for today. I'm spent. I've gotta save my wrists from carpal tunnel. Dan Brown will be guest-authoring my blog on Wednesday, so be sure to come back and check it out.
Sunday July 2, 2006
It's Bob again and this is going to be a short one. Not much has happened in the last 24 hours. Plus, I think my blogs have outshined Mike's. I think I now have a nice lead on him and can coast to the title of "best blogger."
Today was the middle Sunday of Wimbledon. Historically, there is no play at Wimbledon on this day. The grass courts are given a day off to heal and all practice is done at Aorangi Park. Mike and I went over to Aorangi at noon and got a quick hit in and then went to the gym and the training room to get the bodies just right for tomorrow. We are first on at noon so we were anxious to get the workout over with and get the legs up.
On the way to the courts, we passed by Andy's house. We could see him with his brother on the top floor yelling and screaming over their video games. I know he had a good time out on the town last night...and I'm sure he is going to bounce back from this loss and have a great hard court summer.
After working out, Montse and I and some friends had a relaxing lunch on the Thames River in Putney. While we had lunch, we sent Mike and Jennifer on a mission to find fans to get us through the night. The weather has been an absolute scorcher and our place has become a furnace. Is it a crime for people to put AC in their houses?
Mike has been begging me to switch bedrooms. I guess on his side of the house, the light comes barrelling through the blinds at 4 a.m.. I feel pretty bad for the guy but I don't think I'm going to crack. In our house back in California, Mike's bedroom has a fireplace, a 50 inch flatty, a jacuzzi bathtub with a chandelier over it, and a closet so big you could do wind sprints. I was left with a jack and jill bedroom that I had to knock a wall out of. So, sorry Mike if I don't feel bad.
We just closed on our new place in Tampa during the French Open...I wonder how we're going to decide who gets the master bedroom? We'll probably end up playing a game of rock, paper, scissors for it. We've been playing this game for years. If you look closely, you might even see us do a quick rock, paper, scissors for who has to give the speech at a trophy presentation.
Mike and I both have terrible allergy problems and I think England is the worst place in the world for this. In the past years, we've both felt like we were wearing a "kryptonite necklace"...itchy eyes, no energy, runny nose, the works. Luckily someone told us about this medicine, Beconase, that totally knocks out any symptoms. If we would have known about this back in '98 when we turned pro, we might be on the heals of Woodbridge's 9 Wimbledon titles...actually, probably not. Hopefully I'll play 9 Wimbledons.
Well, it's getting pretty late here and I need to grab some dinner. Our masseuse for the tourney, Graham, is coming at 8:30 and I don't want to keep this guy waiting. He's a New Zealander who definitely knows the meaning of "deep tissue" massage.
Talk to you in a couple days,
Saturday July 1, 2006
Hey everyone, Mike here.
I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. My blackout curtains fell off - I tried to put them back up at 6.30 when I woke up but I was too tired to figure it out so I just gave up. It was also very hot trying to sleep. There's no AC in the house so I was sleeping on top of the covers with wet towels on me.
I'm going to ask Bob if I can have the master bedroom back. That has a Tempurpedic bed. I'm someone who needs a good bed to sleep in and the pillows have to be perfect - I need my three pillows. So I'll have to beg Bob to swap but I doubt he'll do it.
My girlfriend Jenn arrived in perfect time today for the match. She got an earlier flight from L.A. and she arrived at the court just as we were warming up, which was pretty cool. She told me she put on a great acting job at the airport - complete with tears - telling the gate agent that she had to get to Wimbledon to see her boyfriend play. So she got to the top of the standby list and luckily enough got a seat.
Jenn is a modeling agent based in L.A. Her boss is really nice and gives her eight weeks vacation a year so she can travel with us a bit. But she's already used six of those weeks so that only leaves one more week for the US Open and one week for Shanghai. When I wrote two days ago that she thought we lost 7-6 in the fifth set in the first round that's because she was watching point by point scores on the internet. There was a delay with the refresh and she didn't know that the fifth set at Wimbledon is an advantage set (no tie-break).
By the time Bob and I got back from the courts the house was already looking a lot neater. The bathroom was clean, the kitchen was looking good and I'll get my pancakes in the morning, so it's reat to have her here. I can't eat wheat or gluten so she brings me a special mix and makes me pancakes - it's my pre-match meal of choice.
Today in the locker room everyone was watching the penalty kicks, with England losing to Portugal. It seems that the whole of England is now in mourning. But Andy Murray has lifted their spirits with his win over Andy. 'Henman Hill' was packed today as people watched his match on the big screen. It's now officially 'Murray Mountain.' It was a weird schedule to put him on at the same time as England's World Cup match.
It was tough today to see all the Americans go out. It was a good opportunity for Mardy Fish but he got sick yesterday, had a fever and was throwing up. Apparently he only had one hour of sleep last night. We were on the court when Andre came off. We could hear the huge ovation coming from the stadium so we knew he had just lost. We've been watching Andre since we were eight or nine so we wanted to see him win. And, of course, we were sorry to see our good friend Andy bow out against Murray.
Bob and I both went for the ice bath again. Daniel Nestor must have been reading the blog because I saw him taking an ice bath, too. He's stealing our secret!
During the match today we brought out a variation of the chest bump. We did the reverse - a butt bump. We've been seeing some copy catters out there take off our chest bump so it's good to have something different in the bag. After we broke serve we just had a sense what the other was thinking and we did a 360 - or is that a 180? - and did a butt bump.
Tomorrow we'll have an easy Sunday, just have a light hit and try to get some lunch in London to get mentally refreshed. I know we play the round of 16 Monday and if we win the quarters will be played the following day. It's supposed to be getting hotter, too, so it won't hurt to conserve a little energy.
One of our chief rivals for the title, Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi, are having an incredible tournament. They have both made it to the fourth round of singles - where they will play each other - and Jonas is playing mixed, too. So far he's played three singles, two doubles - all best-of-five-set matches - and one mixed. That's a great effort for a guy who is 34. He's a great physical specimen, has legs of steel. If I had his legs I'd be Top 10 in singles, but I was given stick legs.
Friday June 30, 2006
Hey Guys, it's Bob. I'm not going to lie, I was a little stiff when I got up this morning. It kind of feels like I've been hit by a truck. Maybe not that bad, but with the new "Doubles Revolution" scoring change at ATP events, Mike and I have been getting soft. We're more used to spending 55 minutes on court, not over 4 hours. The new scoring changes in 2006 have been a huge success and more doubles matches are being played on center court. But with that said, I'm glad that at Wimbledon, arguably the biggest tournament in the world, we play 3 out of 5 sets regular scoring.
On the way to breakfast this morning, Montse and I saw a baby bird on the sidewalk. It had fallen out of its nest from a tree 30 feet above. It looked like it was pretty rattled but in good shape, so we got some big leaves and scooped the little sucker up. I couldn't make my way up the tree, so we took it to the other side of the fence and put it in a safe patch of grass. Being a big believer in Karma, who knows, this good deed might translate into a higher first serve percentage in my next match.
At our usual breakfast spot, Giraffe, we saw an unusual number of eyeballs checking out our table. I guess some Andy Roddick fans have been reading the blog and are now on to his patterns. Sorry Andy, I'm a journalist, and it is my duty not to withhold any information.
After breakfast, I headed over to Wimbledon to leave some tickets for some friends that have just arrived from the States. Their names are Amber and Tiffany. They are from Michigan and design our web site, bobandmike.com. These girls are not hard to pick out in a crowd. You'll often see them at our matches wearing bright neon green shirts that say "Bryan's Bunch." They have been selling these T-shirts on our web site and we'll see 3 to 4 of these green shirts wherever we play. Mike and I are grateful for all the support we get and can't thank Amber and Tiffany enough for all they've done.
By the way, that ticket desk at the player desk is a circus. Everyone is scrambling, jostling for position, and trying to beg for more tickets. Sometimes it can look like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Wimbledon seems to be the tournament that everyone wants to come to. I get e-mails from people I haven't heard from in years asking me how I'm doing and then asking if I can scrounge them some ground passes. Truthfully, Wimbledon is not a democracy and because we are higher up the food chain than some other players, we get more tickets. Actually, because Mike and I have reached the finals here before, we are eligible for "Final 8" passes and tickets for the rest of our life.
I'm back at my house right now resting up and killing some time before my mixed doubles match with Venus later today. As I write this and look around, I have just realized that our house is now a complete pigsty. Two weeks of laziness and not picking up behind ourselves has done wonders. We were hoping we could make it until Mike's girlfriend, Jenn, gets here tomorrow. She is a magician cleaner, but I think we are past the point of no return. We're going to need more than a magician to clean this place up. We're going to need an act of God or mother nature or something.
Andy just sent me a text and said that the fiddle player for The Dave Matthews Band, Boyd Tinsley, has just arrived at the courts to watch some tennis. Mike and I have been DMB superfans since 1994 when their first album came out. Since then, we've been to over 10 of their concerts. Through Andy, we've had the opportunity to become friends with Boyd, hang out on his tour bus and chill backstage at a few of the shows. He's an incredible guy and not a bad tennis player, too.
Alright, I'm off to warm up and play the match - talk to you when I get home...
Playing mixed with Venus was a lot of fun...
...I saw Roger Federer in the locker room after his singles match. He was all smiles as usual and showed me that fashionable blazer that he's been wearing out to his matches. I asked him what he was going to do with his two days off and he said he was going to fly back to Switzerland for the weekend. The funny thing is I actually fell for it. Nothing would surprise me with that guy...he makes his own rules.
Well, after a long day of eating strawberries and cream, watching soccer, and chilling in the locker room, Venus and I strolled out to the court and got a win. It was a lot of fun playing with her. While our opponents were contemplating strategy, we were talking about the South Beach nightlife. She is a really relaxed sweet girl. We've known each other since we were 10 years old growing up in Southern California, so it's cool to be playing together in the "Big Show" almost 20 years later.
Talk to you on Sunday,
Thursday June 29, 2006
Hey, Mike here. Well, what a way to start our Wimbledon campaign. 11-9 in the fifth set in the first round! Here's a summary of how the day went...
Being scheduled fourth match on, we calculated that the earliest we'd be on would be 5pm. That was allowing 90 minutes each for the two women's matches and then at least 2 hours for the men's singles between Pavel and Baghdatis. But the first women's match was a turkey shoot - it went so quick. So when we started to warm up at 2pm Baghdatis and Pavel were going on.
So we had a quick practice and then rushed from the court and went up to eat. We could look down to the courts and see the men's match. When we saw Pavel - a baseliner - serving and volleying on first and second serves we thought, That's a little weird. He called for the trainer and we said 'Oh, crap.' He catches the ball on his toss, shakes his head and we knew we were in trouble.
We threw down a few bites of chicken and potatoes and were told we had 45 minutes to be ready to play. We needed to shower and do our grips - go through our normal routine. So when we took the court we were hoping for a quick match because we didn't have a lot of food in our stomachs and we end up playing for four hours! We were thinking about making Wimbledon history by calling for a pizza at the changeover.
One thing that saved us were the Powergel Gus (pronounced gooz) I had in my bag. There were about 15 and we went through them all. They are like straight sugar and carbohydrates and you're supposed to take one every 45 minutes, but we were sucking 'em down like candy. I'm still shaking now! We also probably ate 10 bananas out there trying to keep our energy level up.
So it was pretty stressful from start to finish, but there were a couple of lighter moments. Bob's friend, Montse, is Chilean, and while she's a big soccer fan she's still learning about tennis. At the end of the second set Bob and I both jogged off court for a bathroom break and Montse thought that the match had ended in a 1-1 draw. (I must have a bladder problem because for weeks I've been having to go to the bathroom at the end of the first set. Maybe I'm drinking too much water or eating too many Gus.) This is just Montse's second tournament, she's still a rookie. In fact, when we played Chile in the Davis Cup earlier in the year I'm still not sure who she was cheering for. My girlfriend, Jen, who should know a little better, thought we had lost when Kerr and Delic went ahead 7-6 in the fifth, not realizing that there is no tie-break in the fifth set.
I haven't seen a replay of my return at 9-9 in the fifth set on the point which gave us the decisive break. But everyone in the locker room said they were watching and said I was totally horizontal. "Helluva dive," they were telling me. From what I can remember Jordan Kerr hit a wide serve and I was expecting him to go to the forehand. My only option was to dive fully laid out and pray. Luckily I got the lob pretty deep which made it a somewhat difficult smash for Amer Delic. Amer can be a little sloppier than Jordan and fortunately for us he put the smash wide. We went straight into the chest bump after that.
Because we play just two sets and a match tie-break at non Grand Slam tournaments, to play an 11-9 in the fifth in the first round at Wimbledon was a tough way to start the tournament. We both took ice baths after the match to recover. Ice baths are tough. It takes about three minutes for the legs to go numb, so you're in the worst pain for all that time. I go in with my iPod. I wanted a fast song so I went with Counting Crows. If you have no music the time goes really slow. And yes, there is shrinkage. You just accept that and move on. I just hope that I don't hurt my fertility chances in the future. It's definitely freezing down there.
A few of the guys are starting to do it. Ljubicic saw me get in and said that he did it at the Australian Open. Andy does it once in a while after long five-setters. I used to do it after every match when I had bad hips. It helps to flush out the lactic acid. Not all tournaments have the facilities to do it but here they have a big cooler of ice and a bath, so it's perfect.
After recovery we did some press, then Radio Wimbledon. The Wimbledon food shut down at 8 so I ate one organic food bar that I travel with straight afterwards and then we had a huge Thai meal for dinner.
It was the toughest first-round match we've ever played and possibly the longest in terms of time. Although in our first Wimbledon in 1999 we lost 10-8 in the fifth to Lareau and O'Brien in a match that was spread across four days due to the weather.
Here's to a good night's sleep. Just hope those Gus don't keep me awake.
Wednesday June 28, 2006
Hey Everyone, it's Bob again. Mike's blogs on Sunday and Tuesday were pretty solid. Supposedly, my Monday blog was a little weak, so I can hopefully pick up the slack starting now.
After our ritual breakfast at Giraffe with Andy, I made a run to my agent's house to pick up our Adidas distribution bags. At all of the Grand Slam tournaments, our sponsors load us each up with 2 full duffle bags of the latest gear. Our flat now looks like a storage facility. With all the product we've been accumulating the past 8 weeks, we're going to need an Airbus to get us back to the States. We have some cousins here watching our matches so hopefully we'll be able to dish some of it on them.
Today is the last day of practice before the tourney kicks into full swing. We both feel like we are seeing the ball well so we only did an hour of touch up on the indoor courts. Once we start up, we'll be potentially playing 2 matches a day so there is no need to leave it all on the practice court.
From the court, I went straight to the training room to take an ice bath. Agassi saw me filling up a huge bucket with ice and was relentlessly grilling me on what I was doing. He'd never heard of anyone taking a bath full of ice water and couldn't believe that a doubles player needed to do that. Luckily, Henman came to the rescue and said he'd just taken one last night after his singles match and his legs felt awesome. Who knows, if Andre would have found out about these ice baths 5 years ago, he might have played until he was 50.
When my legs thawed out from the ice bath, I loaded my tennis bag full of waters and made my way towards the transportation desk at the front of Wimbledon to head home. It took me 45 minutes to get there because I saw 10 people who I had to stop and catch up with. During the first 4 or 5 days of a Grand Slam, there are 300 players with their families, coaches, and trainers. Because of this, it's impossible to get from point A to point B without seeing a ton of people you know. The site is what we like to call a "meat market" and personally I like it better during the second week when it has thinned out.
As I left, I saw the mixed doubles draw that had just been posted. Mike is playing with Corina Morariu and I am playing with Venus Williams. Venus called me 5 days ago and I jumped on the opportunity to play with her. Unfortunately, Martina Navartilova and I had a misunderstanding. She thought I had committed to her at the French Open and I thought she was playing with Leander Paes. Strangely, Mark Knowles thought that Venus had committed to him. So after some interesting text messages, we got it all straightened out and Martina and Mark are now paired together.
Tonight we are playing music at the players’ party. It should be interesting. We just found out today that we don't have a drum kit. Also, our singer, Glenn Weiner, has been busy and is pretty unrehearsed on our material. So instead of rehearsing, I think we'll probably come together 15 minutes before the gig and have a prayer service. We'll need it.
Well, I've got to jump in the shower and get up the street to pub where we'll be playing our gig. I'll check back with you in a couple hours. We might have a record deal by then...or we might be wiping the tomatoes off our faces…
…Just walked in the door. It went pretty darn well. We played a 45 minute set of "covers," highlighted by the U2 tune, One, and Sweet Child of Mine by Guns 'n Roses. A lot of players showed up and were giving us the thumbs up throughout the performance. They either thought it was good or they were just trying to make us feel good. Scott Humphries was especially supportive. He's could've been drunk though...or he might be sucking up to get our ground passes for tomorrow. Who cares, it was a lot of fun! I think being a rock star could top being a professional tennis player. No losing and a lot more groupies.
All right, it's midnight - time to hydrate and get some rest for a big day tomorrow.
Talk to you later,
Tuesday June 27, 2006
Hey, it's Mike here. It's back to my turn with the blog. Well, we took a little vote over here and my first post seems to have taken the points over Bob's first post. He didn't have a lot in there. Mine had a lot more to offer, more names. But there's still 12 days of the tournament to go (hopefully we'll still be around) so he's got time to work his way back into this blogging contest.
Anyway, he should be happy because he got to use the shower in the house today. After about 15 minutes the hot water runs out and then it takes a couple of hours for it to come back. So we let Bob and Montse have the hot showers and coach Dave and I zipped down early to Wimbledon, where they have a nice selection of showers. The lack of hot water is one of a few things that weren't disclosed when we signed the lease...
The garbage disposal wasn't working so we got that fixed. They told us we had interactive Sky TV where you could watch any court at Wimbledon, but that's not the case. So there have been a few minuses.
And right now we're jamming in the garage by candlelight because the light has blown out. Although we suspect there could be some sabotage involved. There were two strings cut off our guitar and they're missing. I'm not sure if it's vandalism or maybe it's one of the neighbors who think we may be cranking up the music a little loud.
As we started walking to breakfast today Andy had just left his house so we had breakfast at the Giraffe together. We also got a big shipment of Oakley sunglasses come in this morning, which we've been hanging out for. We've been on the road for seven weeks now and while we started out with 10 pairs we were down to one pair between us. We always seem to lose a couple of pairs here and there and often other players will ask us for a pair. Anyway, we've got 12 pairs between us now after today's shipment. We've been with Oakley since we were 16 years old and over the years we've been given hundreds of pairs of glasses and lots of clothes. They've been so good to us we take it for granted but we shouldn't because the other players would die for the stuff we get.
Today I went over early to the gym before practicing with Knowles and Nestor. We played them a set and then after that we played Butts Up, where the loser has to stand facing a wall while everyone else hits a ball as hard as they can at you. We played a reflex volley game where the first person to accumulate 10 points loses. You get one point for each point you lose and five points if you get ‘tagged’ by the ball.
Nestor was losing - he had nine or 10 points - when we had to leave. But we said 'next one to miss gets on the fence.' That, of course, turned out to be me. So I went on the fence but fortunately no-one hit me. I guess we should have outgrown the game by now but we’ve seen James and Mardy play it at Saddlebrook, so we’ll blame them.
Which reminds me... During the French Open Bob and I closed on a house five minutes from Saddlebrook to be close to Mardy and James. It'll be better for us to train out there - especially as our coach Dave Macpherson lives close by in Sarasota - and easier to fly to Europe.
I've been shopping online with my girlfriend looking for couches and beds at CrateandBarrel.com, trying to furnish the new place. My girlfriend's sister is an interior decorator, so she's been helping out a bit. We're going for a masculine, modern theme, but we're not going to paint anything too crazy on the walls. No Doubles Revolution graffiti! We want a little movie room.
We're doing our final rehearsal for tomorrow night's gig. We've got 25 songs which we need to condense to seven or eight, so we're refining our selections now. We're playing at a bar called SW19 at 9pm, so if you're in the area come on down. There is a 15 pound cover charge but players can get in for free if they show their player badge. We haven't seen Thursday's schedule yet, but if we're drawn to play hopefully we won't be on too early.
It was good to see the Americans do well today. We watched some of James' match and also it was particularly good to see Andre win. We've always idolized him and he's one of the reasons we're playing the game. He's an amazing person and an amazing player.
Uh oh, I've just seen a black cat walk in front of the house. The last time I saw a black cat we had the close call in the light plane. Wait... he's got white feet. I think that negates the bad luck.
It's around 8 o'clock so coach Dave will be going out to get some pre-made steaks from an Italian restaurant any minute. This place is getting pretty trashed at the moment... we need a maid. We've got laundry piled up to the ceiling in the garage (Wimbledon is the only tournament not to do laundry - except for your match whites) and it's starting to smell bad. Not the best jamming studio we've ever been in! Let's hope it doesn't affect our performance tomorrow night, or more importantly, tomorrow if we are drawn to play our first match.
That's all for now. Over to you Bob...
Monday June 26, 2006
Okay, It's Bob here. Mike has tagged me in to write today's post.
Mike and I did our own thing tonight. My friend Montse is over from New York and I wanted to show her a good time so we went out to SW19, which is a bar in the Wimbledon village. I saw the schedule and we don't play tomorrow, so it's probably the last chance I'll have to go out. Mike wanted to rest the body and conserve some energy, so he stayed in and played the guitar. Andy came over and they just hung out.
Montse and I watched the World Cup game between Ukraine and Switzerland, which Ukraine won on penalty kicks. The game was tight and we were praying it would come down to penalties. That's the ultimate in all of sports in terms of pressure and excitement. We think the match tie-break in doubles is sudden death, but this takes it to a whole new level. But they're both similar in that they can go either way.
I've gotta tell you, coming from California, where we ban smoking in all indoor establishments, I was dying in the bar. I could see the smoke coming ito my lungs and I had to go for some walks outside just to survive. Tonight I'm hanging my clothes outside to air them out. For dinner I had a good ol' fashioned hamburger.
When we saw the rain coming today we decided not to make plans to practice. Apart from the difficulty in finding a court on day like this we've been practicing pretty hard the past week and Mike wanted to take today off and rest the body. So we opted for an easy day and just had a workout in the gym.
During the day we were followed by British tennis magazine ACE. We did an interview for an hour and he bought us lunch, which was cool.
I have to admit that I've become addicted to downloading on iTunes. Today it was South Park and some episodes of 24. Andy's favorite show is The Office, so he convinced me to watch the first episode of that. Tonight I got a text message from Andy at the bar: Where Are You? We probably see him once a day. We'll either go over to his place and play poker or video games or he'll come over here and listen to some music. And every morning we meet at 10.30 for breakfast. We're not early risers... if we don't have a match we don't like to get out of bed much before 10 o'clock.
You may have noticed in the photos that Mike's hair is pretty short. I woke up a couple of days ago and he'd been to the barber and shaved it down. He said he wanted to go clean for the tournament. Short hair looks much better on Mike than me so I won't be doing anything that drastic. Maybe that'll help people tell us apart a bit better.
Tomorrow our buddy Glenn Weiner and Raj will come over and we'll have one final run through of the songs we'll be playing at the gig on Wednesday night. We seem to have smoothed things out with the neighbors... we're wrapping it up before 9.30 - that's the cutoff.
Sunday June 25, 2006
Hi everyone. It's Mike blogging today. We'll mix it up during the Wimbledon 'fortnight' to keep you on your toes. Bob will make his first post Monday.
We've settled into a three-bedroom apartment about a 10 minute walk from Wimbledon village and we've set up our music studio in the garage. The biggest problem so far is that our neighbors have a six-month-old baby. The other night we were wailing it and they were pounding on the door telling us to shut up but it was so loud we couldn't even hear them. But we've come to a compromise. We can go for it all we want during the day and we keep it down at night.
This is a different apartment to the one we had last year, which was even nicer. But we scratched the floor with the amplifier and the piano so we can't go back there. We had to pay $2500 for a new floor to make good. This place isn't bad... it's not huge but it's got three bedrooms and has wireless internet, which we need, and cable, so we've been watching all the big World Cup soccer games. We were looking at another house which was a lot bigger but they had pets. We've already been struggling with hay fever over here so we didn't want to make our allergies even worse.
Between the two of us our per diem doesn't quite cover the cost of the apartment, which runs us about US$550 to US$600 a night. So we're coming up a little short but we're both playing mixed - Bob with Venus and me with Corina Morariu - and hopefully we'll make up a little of the shortfall there. My girlfriend is also coming in to stay so we'll get her to cook a few meals to save us some cash!
When we got here we went to AC music and rented a piano, guitar and a PR system and we have the garage rigged up pretty sweet. The garage isn't sound proof - there are a couple of holes in the garage so the sound penetrates the walls. And we like to crank it up! Andy said he could hear us from the bottom of the street as he was walking up the other day. We've been practicing a lot since we've been here and we have a gig on Wednesday night. We could be drawn to play on Thursday but we go on at 7.30 and we'll just bust out 10 songs and then get back to the apartment.
Andy's been coming over and listening to our music and we're trying to get him to make a cameo at the gig. But he needs to step out of his comfort zone with 'Ice, Ice, Baby.' We've been rehearsing some new material including Eminem, 8 Mile, Young C and Bust A Move. Glenn Weiner has been here the past couple of hours - he has a great voice.
We're staying pretty close to Andy - we're in the same little subdivision. We had a poker game the other night at Andy's house with the American guys including Mardy, James, Todd Martin and Scott Humphries. I took Andy out in the first five minutes of the game but John Roddick ended up winning the game.
For dinner we just have a 10 minute walk up the hill from our apartment to the restaurants. Our favorite is the Thai Tho - we've been making a lot of take-out runs. Usually the loser of a card game will walk up the hill to get it. We've been having a lot of red curries and green curries. For breakfast we've been meeting Andy each day at Giraffes. I've been going for a full English breakfast of two fried eggs, sausage, bacon, potato wedges and baked beans. They also specialize in fruit smoothies and we've been going for the papaya fruit smoothie: mint, lime and banana. It's called the Giddy Giraffe.
Oh, in the photo of us you'll also see Raj Chaudhuri, who coaches Corina Morariu, Lisa Raymond and Jill Craybas. He's from California and is one of our buddies who loves to sing. Also in the photo is our trainer, Eric Wilkinson, who sings and plays guitar.
Talk to you tomorrow