ATP WORLD TOUR SEASON REVIEW
Bryan Brothers Top Doubles Storylines In 2013
Best Of 2013
by James Buddell|
ATPWorldTour.com reviews the 2013 doubles season and its key storylines.
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan dominated the 2013 ATP World Tour doubles season. The 35-year-old American twins put together the best season of their 19-year pro careers, winning 11 titles from 15 finals overall. They lifted silverware at the first three Grand Slam championships of the year and a career-high five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles.
In a four-month period, from 9 May to 9 August, the Bryans went 25 matches unbeaten. As a result of their exploits, they became ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates for a fifth successive year and record ninth time overall (2003, '05-07, '09-13) and also ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record ninth time.
At Grand Slam championships, the Bryans went 22-1. At the Australian Open (d. Haase-Sijsling), they captured their 13th major title to break the long-standing record of Australians John Newcombe and Tony Roche; the duo won at Roland Garros (d. Llodra-Mahut) for the first time since 2003 and added a third crown at The Championships, Wimbledon (d. Dodig-Melo). It meant that they were the first team in history to hold all four Grand Slam championships and an Olympic gold medal at the same time.
Their quest to become the first team to clinch the calendar-year Grand Slam since Australians Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman in 1951 came to an end on 5 September in the US Open semi-finals (l. to Paes-Stepanek). The last doubles team to have won three Grand Slam titles in one year had been Anders Jarryd and John Fitzgerald in 1991 (Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open).
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After they finished runner-up at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, Mike Bryan admitted, “It's going to be tough to better this, but we'd love to be on the same pace as we did this year. We'll have the 100 title-mark on the horizon [in 2014]. We'd love to shoot that down next year.”
When asked about the sacrifices they had made to remain at the top, Bob Bryan said, “When we put the racquets down, we'll definitely know we gave it everything. We rung every last drop out of this tour. Our minds have stayed focused on that prize from day one. We've never once had a lapse in our energy and in our focus: that means not going out and partying. But it's definitely worth it.”
Nestor’s 900th Match Win
In a career of remarkable longevity, Canadian Daniel Nestor passed yet another milestone on 21 August. In tandem with fellow veteran Leander Paes, together for the first time since June 2004 at The Queen’s Club, Nestor became the first doubles player to reach 900 match wins by reaching the Winston-Salem Open semi-finals. “It’s obviously special being able to play as long as I have and fortunately winning a lot,” said Nestor. “I always had great partners, and it’s nice to share this moment with another great player in doubles over the years.” Three days later, the duo went on to lift the trophy (d. Huey-Inglot) to ensure that Nestor has won at least one doubles title for 20 straight seasons.
Nestor contested his first tour-level event as a 16 year old in August 1989 at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, although he did not turn professional until two years later. (He has since played the tournament for 25 straight years.) He was forced to wait until January 1993 for his first win at the Heineken Open in Auckland, alongside Sebastien Lareau. Blessed with superb touch and shotmaking brilliance, he first entered the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings on 13 November 1995. Now, aged 40, Nestor is about to start his 24th season as a pro when he will reunite with Nenad Zimonjic – one of 25 partners over the course of his career – in order to add to his 81 team crowns and 911-370 match record.
A Grand Performer
At an age when Paes could move seamlessly onto the ATP Champions Tour, his enthusiasm for the sport remains contagious. Quick and agile, with great feel and anticipation, Paes is widely regarded as the greatest volleyer on tour and, like fellow 40-year-old Nestor, ranks as one of the finest doubles exponents of the past three decades. In 2013, Paes became the oldest male Grand Slam champion of the Open Era (since 1968), when he lifted the US Open doubles trophy with Radek Stepanek after they defeated Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares 6-1, 6-3 in the final on 8 September.
"This one really means a lot to me," said Paes, who has won eight major championship men’s doubles titles from 16 finals. Paes also won in New York City in 2006 and 2009 with Martin Damm and Lukas Dlouhy respectively, both also from the Czech Republic. In January 2012, Paes became the 21st player to win the career Grand Slam when he won his first Australian Open title with Stepanek. Like a fine wine, Paes appears to getting better with age. He has just finished in the year-end Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings for the sixth straight season and a ninth time overall. Since 1990, he has had 95 doubles partners.
An All-Spanish Finale
For the second year running, a Spanish team – one recognised as a singles player, the other a doubles player – won the title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Doubles specialist David Marrero and former World No. 7 singles player Fernando Verdasco won the biggest title of their careers at the season finale to follow in the footsteps of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez and 1975 champions Manuel Orantes and Juan Gisbert Sr.
"It was a special victory," said Verdasco, after he partnered Marrero to a 7-5, 6-7(3), 10-7 win over the Bryans in the final on 11 November. It broke a three-match losing streak against the three-time former champions. "You don't win a tournament like this every day. I am really going to try to enjoy it. I think it's the best way to go on holidays." Marrero dedicated the title to his late grandfather, who had died two years ago.
In their second year as a team, Marrero and Verdasco put together a strong finish post-US Open, winning the St. Petersburg Open title (d. Inglot-Istomin) and finishing runner-up at the Shanghai Rolex Masters (l. to Dodig-Melo). Verdasco, 30, rose from No. 28 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings at the start of the year to a career-high No. 8, while 33-year-old Marrero rose into the Top 10 for the first time on 4 November and is now at a high of No. 5.