Mike Ready For Big Day, Bob Coaches Micaela
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have done it again. The American twins are guaranteed to finish as the year-end No. 1-ranked doubles team for the fourth straight season and eighth overall. The two set the all-time record last year.
En route to another finish atop the ATP Doubles Team Rankings, the Bryans won the London 2012 Olympics gold medal to complete a career Golden Slam and captured their 12th major trophy at the US Open to tie the all-time team record. They have collected seven titles in total in 2012, which also include ATP World Tour Masters 1000 triumphs in Monte-Carlo and Toronto.
ATPWorldTour.com caught up with the Bryans to chat about the achievement, their upcoming off-court milestones and more…
You’ve secured the year-end No. 1 doubles team ranking for the eighth time. Mike, does locking this up now help reduce your stress level as you prepare to walk down the aisle in November?
Mike: It's a great feeling to know that we're already guaranteed the top spot once the season ends. This is always a big goal for us, so achieving it might allow me to focus a little more attention towards getting married. Whether that's good or bad for my nerves, I’m not sure. What I do know is that I've already started to get excited about the big day in about a month’s time. Since I've been home the past week, the wedding preparations have been full steam ahead. My fiancée is an event planner so she takes care of most of the details, but I did participate in our menu tasting, which was a blast.
How proud are you to once again end the season at the top with such fierce competition this year?
Bob: Every year teams form new combinations, adjust their strategies, and players get stronger. Finishing No. 1 again feels great and is a nice reward for the hard work we've put in on and off the court.
Which was a greater accomplishment, completing a career Golden Slam at the London 2012 Olympics, or setting the Open Era Grand Slam team title record at the US Open to swipe another record from your idols, the Woodies?
Mike: That's a tough question. It's almost like asking a parent which one of their kids they like better, but to tell you the truth, there was no better feeling than winning the gold. It's seemed surreal at the time and it's still hard to believe we won the Olympics. I can definitely tell you that our friends and fans all really seem to want to get their hands on the gold.
Bob, after winning the US Open, you said, ‘We had a rough 12 months. We took a lot of lumps, but now that's all forgotten. It's sweeter than ever.’ Can you talk about some of those ‘lumps’ and how you stayed focused to ensure you peaked at the Olympics to win the one big title eluding you and Mike?
Bob: Over that 12 month period we put ourselves in some favourable positions to win major titles but came up a little short. It was frustrating but we stayed positive and kept the belief. Like my Dad always says, “The darkest hour is just before dawn.”
Mike, you recently set the all-time record for most doubles titles, having won two additional trophies in 2002. Does this fact ever help you win an argument when you have a disagreement with Bob, reminding him that you have more titles on the ATP World Tour?
Mike: Ha! I doubt my couple extra titles will ever help me win an argument with Bob. He likes to remind me that he's earned a lot more money than I have because he's won seven Grand Slam mixed titles to my three. The playful competitive needling will always be there between us.
So Bob, is this revelation from Mike true?
Bob: I actually do remind him of that… especially when he is getting too cocky!
Looking to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, what is it going to take for you guys to lift the final trophy of the season, having fallen in the semi-final stage the past two seasons?
Mike: When you're competing against the top teams in the world in a no ad/Match Tie-break format, you definitely need to be as sharp as possible and a little bit of luck needs to fall your way. Playing the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is an honour and a pleasure to be a part of. It's an unbelievable showcase for the very best of what doubles has to offer and I’m sure the atmosphere in The O2 will bring out the best in us.
After London, Mike will get married. Bob, how do you think the pressure of giving the Best Man’s toast will compare with serving for a Grand Slam title?
Bob: The speech will probably be a bit nerve-wracking but since he delivered a decent one on my wedding day I'll have to give his a full effort.
What’s next on your radar for milestones to check off? Is winning 100 team titles something you two have thought about?
Mike: I guess the century mark isn't too much of a long shot since we want to play through the Olympics in 2016. Having fun, improving, and staying healthy are always our priorities so if we can make sure we check those three off first, I'm confident more titles will fall. Next big milestone: Walking down the aisle!
Bob, I’m sure Micaela’s well into the babbling stage now. Any predictions on what her first word will be?
Bob: Micaela is definitely babbling up a storm. When Michelle isn't around, I secretly coach her to say “Daddy” and “Papa” – I'm praying she'll break one of those out as her first word and not “Mama!”