The Bryan Brothers Blog From Davis Cup
by ATP Staff|
Sunday, December 2, 2007 - 7.30 p.m. PT
Hi everyone, it's Bob here.
Well, this is our last night in Portland. Both teams are getting suited up to go to the champions dinner and then we all go our own separate ways in the morning. I remember it was pretty ugly in 2004 having to watch the Spanish team being toasted after we lost the final. It seemed like a very long dinner, so it's nice to be on the other side this time.
On Monday we'll scatter across the country for various charity events. James is going to Virginia. Andy and Mardy will go to Mardy's event in Vero Beach and then James will go to Boca for Andy's event. Mike and I will go to the Bahamas for Mark Knowles' event.
It was about 6 o'clock last night when Andy told me that he wouldn't be ready to play today - he'd had a few too many at the victory celebrations. Mike and I fought over who would play for about an hour before I gave in. But it's guaranteed that he'll play the next one. I got to be around 2 and woke up around 10 before going to the courts for a light hit with Patrick.
Last night, after celebrating at the courts for a couple of hours, we played some cards at the hotel and got into lots of food. There were 40-50 people in the player suite and then we met up with another 100 at a bar, McFadden's. There was lots of music and dancing and an open bar; it was a great celebration. I saw my cousin John, whom I hadn't seen for five years... and he'd never seen us play a match. And I'd never spoken to his wife. My cousin Carl also came.
It was a bit scary to find out I was playing Andreev in today's singles because he's got a massive forehand. I was happy with how I was able to compete and there were no breaks of serve in the second. And it was great for James to end the final by playing phenomenally well.
But generally speaking it's tough playing dead rubbers, particularly in a final. I think for sure we shouldn't play them in a final. But James seemed to be enjoying himself out there and was certainly relaxed - he kept asking after the New York Giants' score. Mardy and Andy were heckling him the whole time. At one point Tursunov hit a one-handed backhand pass that wrongfooted James and left him looking pretty silly. The crowd was dead silent and Andy just burst out laughing at the top of his lungs, sort of laughing in James' face. The crowd got a kick out of that.
We were all annoyed that James took the final match into a third set. There's sort of an unwritten rule that if you lose the first set in a dead rubber you go out in straight, particularly if it's the final match of the tie. But it's tough to do that at home with the crowd behind you, and James gave it all he had.
We all got trophies right after James' match: solid gold medals that will get engraved with our names and replicas of the Davis Cup trophy, which each are 40 to 50 pounds of wood and silver. They are really, really nice. We're hoping to take the real trophy on a bit of the tour of the West Coast. Maybe bring it to Camarillo or to a Lakers' game. I believe the U.S. has control of the trophy for two or three months.
Mike and I had a lot of fun bringing you some of the action behind the scenes this week, so thanks for reading. What a perfect way to end the season!
Happy holidays to all,
Saturday, December 1, 2007 - 8 p.m. PT
Hey everyone, Mike here...
It's been a hectic few hours! When I last looked at my phone an hour ago there were 60 new text and voice messages. They're coming in every few minutes. Agassi sent a text to all the guys, which was pretty cool, just to say 'good job' and we also heard from Todd Martin.
One person we didn't hear from via phone was dad, who normally is too nervous to watch us play. After making up a story that he was flying out to emcee an exhibition in Chicago he actually stayed in Portland and watched us, so we went into the stands to see him. The first I knew he was watching was in the first-set tie-break when he did his whistle - there's only one whistle that sounds like his. It threw my concentration for a few points, suddenly realizing that he was there. But I quickly put it out of my head and looking back now it's great to know that he could be there to watch us.
I called mom right after the match - she was crying. She had watched the match on TV with her family in San Diego.
In the locker room after the match it was like seeing a team that had just won the NBA championship. People were pouring beer over everyone and we were spraying bottles of 1999 Dom Perignon. I think there were 15 bottles all up, so it wasn't cheap! Bob, who had a bit of a queasy stomach for the past 24 hours and had taken an anti-inflammatory before the match, took a sip from the cup and puked it right back up - he couldn't hold his liquor. A food fight broke out in the end and Andy threw a piece of turkey that hit Arlen Kantarian in the eye.
We had a press conference with all eight guys from the team and then we came right back to the hotel, where we were cheered by fans in the lobby. We showered up and right now we're enjoying a pre-party in the team room with about 50 people, including some of my cousins and Andy's friends. Later tonight we'll be going out to a dance club.
I'm just hoping I don't have to front up for the dead singles rubber on Sunday. Andy says he's not playing so either Bob or I will have to step up and play on no sleep. Bob's done this three times before so I'm hoping he'll be the one. I've only played one singles match in the past five years (against Thomas Johansson at this year's World Team Cup). Bob has always been ranked higher than me, so I say we make him the sacrificial lamb :)
I don't always sleep well before Davis Cup so last night I made sure to knock myself out with some sleeping pills. We had dinner in the team room and then we shut it down pretty quick, getting to sleep around 10. I tried to put down some food at breakfast but it was tough to eat anything with the nerves. Bob had also picked up a 24-hour stomach flu, which a few of the guys, including myself, had battled earlier in the week.
During the match we looked over at our bench a few times and the enduring image is of Andy chewing his fingernails. He gets nervous sitting there and he was really gnawing away. But it's cool to feel all the support of the team.
Match point is a little bit of a blur. I just remember looking up and getting hit by our guys jumping over the net. The coolest part for me was serving out the last game and to see Bob hit the final shot.
As we said on court it's the realization of a lifelong dream for us. Ever since we watched - with painted faces and holding American flags - Rick Leach and Jim Pugh win the doubles tie against Mexico in La Costa in 1990, we knew that we wanted to play doubles for the U.S. And after the ups and downs of the past five years, and having tasted defeat in a Davis Cup final, it's a very sweet moment to be part of this winning team. I think it's even better than winning a Grand Slam, because we get to share it with a bunch of great guys.
Thanks for reading the blog next week. We may try to squeeze out one more post tomorrow.
Friday, November 30, 2007 - 4 p.m. PT
Hey everyone, it's Bob.
After all the practice and anticipation, Friday has arrived and it's time to play ball.
During breakfast, the whole team seemed very relaxed and we all told jokes and talked football. Very seldom do we talk about tennis or the matches at hand. Everybody knows the job that they have to do and there isn't anyone on this team that has ever given less than 110% in a Davis Cup match.
Two hours before the matches this morning the stadium was already electric. It was pretty cool that people showed up early to see us warmup. During the introductions, we were greeted by a drum line and fireworks. It was impossible not to get goose bumps when our names were called and the Portland crowd roared out their support. I saw a ton of familiar faces in the crowd as I walked to the bench to join our team. From Stan Smith and his son Ramsey, to Ricky Leach, our childhood idol, the stands at Memorial Coliseum are littered with family, friends, former Davis Cup players, and legends.
Mike and I watched one set of Andy's match from the sidelines and just finished watching Andy put the first point in the books from here at the hotel. We are T-minus 20 hours until the doubles match and our feet are up and we are conserving every bit of energy so we can explode on Saturday.
Well, let's hope Jimmy B can get us up 2-0. He's been absolutely torching the ball in practice and is capable of playing some insane tennis.
Alright guys, that's all for today. I'm about to go grab a massage from our man, Cicero.
It's our turn tomorrow.
Talk to you soon, Bob
Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 8 p.m. PT
After a late night of poker, and knowing that the draw ceremony was not until noon, the team enjoyed a sleep in this morning. Things went pretty late the night before and I'm pleased to report that Bob was the big winner at the poker table, which is great for me because we share everything.
I'd like to tell you he won through skill or because he had a great poker face but in reality it was pure luck: He had two pocket aces and then got two more out of the flop to make four aces. It was a big hand: John Isner had two kings and went 'all in', and Robby Ginepri thought he was in good shape with a straight. So Bob came out the big winner. I think Andy and James ended up about even on the night.
I think it was a good draw for us to see Andy scheduled to play first tomorrow. He's just the guy to come out firing and take us to a 1-0 lead and put us on a roll. Today he and James just practiced for about 40 minutes to keep fresh. And they were goofing off for most of the session.
It was a closed practice but my dad brought a lot of kids from a high school to watch. You may find this interesting given that we passed out 100 tickets to friends and family, but neither my dad or mom will be in the stadium Saturday when we play one of the biggest matches of our lives. Mom is just too nervous and will be watching with her family in San Diego. Dad also gets nervous watching and is flying out of Portland Saturday to emcee a Pete Sampras-Todd Martin exhibition in Chicago. He'll fly back Saturday night to watch the singles on the final day.
Also, I think dad may be a little worried about jinxing us. The only Davis Cup match he's watched us play was in Carson, when we took our only loss at Davis Cup level to Ancic and Ljubicic. It's funny he won't watch because he's so fanatical. When we played in Europe during the indoor season he'd be up at 3 a.m. watching point by point on live scores on the ATP web site, checking out all the stats. When we got home we all had jet lag trying to adjust back to normal time again.
Today we also did some rehearsing with the latest member of the Bryan Brothers Band, Mardy Fish. His strength is country and we worked on a few songs today. Mardy will make some cameos with the band next year. Tonight we'll have a low-key dinner, just with the team members. We'll shut it down pretty early.
Tomorrow you'll probably only spot Bob and I cheering from the bench for the first set or so. Our normal routine is to support whomever is playing the first match for an hour and then head back to the hotel. Don't think for a minute that we don't want to cheer on Andy and James. But they know that sitting court side for six or seven hours of tennis can be tiring and make you stiff. And we want our legs fresh for the doubles on Saturday. The guys understand that and know that on Sunday we'll be there at the side of the court cheering every point.
We're all excited about Day 1 on Friday. We can't wait for it to begin.
Bob will post tomorrow night. Wish the team luck.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007 - 9 p.m.
At practice today, Robby played a couple of sets against James and unfortunately I have to say that a bad call probably cost Robby a set. Mike and Mardy were both calling James' baseline but screwed up an 'out' call because they were text messaging at the time. Robby hit a ball that was just a little long and James played it. The rally continued for another 10-15 shots and Robby eventually won it. But then Mike and Mardy suggested to James that the earlier ball had indeed been out. James, who didn't get a good look at the ball, ran with the idea and that gave him the break. I don't think either Mardy or Mike would get hired to call lines at Challenger level after that performance. Two of them were calling the line and they both missed it!
But Robby took it like a man. I would have broken a couple of racquets. But after calling the lines we were all ready to give credit to the real line judges. The balls really going whizzing fast out there and it's tough to make right calls all the time - even when you're not text messaging :)
Oh, in the photo above, that's Mike practicing to lift a giant version of the Davis Cup. If we win the Cup he'll carry it all the way back to Camarillo!
John Isner's been pretty quiet and obedient today, playing water boy and towel boy. But you've got to feel a little sorry for the big man because no-one wants to hit with him. As Andy says: "The Russians don't have any 6' 10'' goofy guys on their team, so why would we want to hit with you?" It's all said in good humor, of course.
You see the photo of Mike, Mardy and me with all the Christmas shopping bags? Well, after the Nike guys went to the Nike store yesterday and came back bragging about all the stuff they got, we called Andrea Swick from adidas and she was nice enough to hook us up with a nice-size budget at the adidas store, where we did some serious damage. We spent about an hour Christmas shopping for family and friends and also picked up a few goodies for ourselves.
Here's another photo that shows just how large our Davis Cup team is for the final. We're standing in the lobby of the hotel next to the Christmas tree. We have a masseuse, a stringer, trainer, body guard and three coaches - Jay Berger, Brian Barker and John Roddick - assisting captain Patrick McEnroe. There are two doctors - David Dines and his son Josh - three administrative people taking care of all the logistics, four practice partners and four team members.
Our huge squad pretty much takes up two whole floors of the hotel. We have a room for training, a room for massage, a huge suite for a team room with a poker table, flat screen tv and a big eating room, which always has a well-stocked buffet. And the Russians? They have a McDonald's across the street.
Today we practiced early after leaving the hotel at 8.30 am. On the way to the courts we drove past a huge mural of the Davis Cup team on a 30-story building. To see yourself that size is amazing. Everyone here in Portland seems to recognize the team. They are pretty low-key people and it's not a busy-city atmosphere. There's lots mountain, trees and running water. It's more like a running town. But this week we've turned it into a tennis town.
Tomorrow we have the official draw ceremony at noon and then after that we'll be going into lockdown. Patrick wants us to start focusing fully on the start of play on Friday. But we'll still get word out to you through the blog. Just don't tell Patrick.
Mike will check in with you tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Hey everyone, it's Mike here today.
Let me start by saying that if you haven't hit Bob and me up for tickets yet, I'm sorry but you'll have to watch the Davis Cup final on TV. We've given out 101 tickets to family and friends and we're at our limit. We got 40 comped tickets and we bought another 61. I didn't know we had so many long-lost cousins, but all the tickets have been spoken for. Pat Mac got 50 and Andy has a similar amount, so we're all bringing the whole crew!
This photo was taken Tuesday night after a great seafood dinner at Jake's Famous Crawfish restaurant. We had shrimp appetizers and then everyone had scallops.
I'm pleased to report that it didn't take too long for the team to pull a huge prank on John Isner. We got him back good for Sweden. I can't go into too many specifics other than to say that his room looks like a crime scene. While he was at practice in the morning we got an extra key to his room and James and Andy snuck in, put a 'do not disturb' sign on the door, turned up the heat in his room and then did the dirty work.
This isn't the sort of stuff for which you can call the maid to tidy up. He's been in there cleaning his room all day and, knowing that there could be more in store, I'm sure he'll be trying to change the locks. I can say, however, that Donald is probably safe. He's pretty low key and hasn't popped off.
My dad arrived Tuesday and he helped Bob, me and Mardy with an adidas clinic with about 450 kids. We also did a lot of media after that in addition to the press conference we did with the two teams at the pre-draw ceremony. Earlier in the day we practiced at the University of Portland. Bob and I played some doubles with Young and Isner for an hour and a half.
There was some talk about whether Marat Safin may make a surprise appearance in Portland and be rushed into the team to play doubles. But there's no room reservation in his name and our friends at Adidas don't think he's coming. So my guess is he won't show up, which is just fine with Bob and me because he's one of Russia's better doubles players. We believe Tursunov and Safin are their best team. They won the doubles rubber in straight sets over Calleri and Nalbandian in last year's final. But the other guys can play good doubles, too, and if we happen to play Tursunov and Youzhny then they will also be a tough team.
Thanks for reading. I'll turn it back over to Bob for the next post.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It's great to be back blogging for atpworldtour.com. Mike and I will take turns each day this week as we get set for one of the biggest weeks of our career - the Davis Cup final against Russia in Portland, Oregon.
Here's a photo we took Monday night at the Portland Trailblazers' game. Along with James and Andy we got floor seats to the game and did a little promotion at halftime hitting balls into the crowd. The rest of the team had to watch the game a little higher up in one of the suites. Hope it wasn't too rough for you guys :)
After enjoying Thanksgiving with our extended family of about 25 we flew into Portland on Saturday night. On Sunday we practiced at the University of Portland and then the whole team went to the Portland Convention Center, where we met up with about 500 kids. We played some mini-tennis with the kids and Mike and I played James and Andy in an exhibition.
For dinner we were guests of former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula at his steakhouse. That was a great dinner! Mike and I also went to Whole Foods and loaded up on groceries for the hotel room. The hotel has a beautiful spread for breakfast each morning but Mike is so picky that he can't eat much of it. He probably spends 25 grand at Whole Foods... he should look into a sponsorship deal.
On Monday we had a practice set with Mardy and Donald Young. We're really impressed with how much Donald has improved in the past six months. He's a totally different player to the guy we saw in Winston Salem. We're also impressed with how hard Robby Ginepri is working after a disappointing year and he's committed to getting back into the Top 20.
We still haven't seen John Isner yet but we're all looking out for him - we have some major pranks in the planning stage. He played some pranks on the whole team in Sweden and rookies just can't do that. I can't divulge too much as it was pretty gross, but it had something to do with defacing my room - he messed it up pretty good.
Also Monday James and Patrick went to Nike Town for a book signing for James' book, and we all were fitted for new Hugo Boss suits - a nice little perk!
Look out for Mike's post tomorrow.