|Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan bump chests as they celebrate match
point in the men's doubles final at the Wimbledon Championships
at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2013
The twin tennis players inspired another nickname during a historic 2013 season.
The Bryan brothers have racked up 10 tournament wins this year, including their record-breaking 15th career Grand Slam championship at Wimbledon in July. The win in London made the Bryans the first doubles team in the Open Era to hold all four majors at the same time — dubbed the Bryan Slam.
“It just feels like we’re adding nuts and whipped cream and cherries to our great career,” Bob Bryan told the media after Wimbledon. “We said that a few years ago: ‘If we retire today, we feel like we’ve done it all. Let’s go have some fun and add to whatever this is.’”
The Bryan brothers added several records to their résumé in 2013, including an Open Era-record 800-plus match wins, a record 92 career titles and the ATP Doubles Team year-end No. 1 ranking for a record ninth time, as well as the honor of being the first team to win each Grand Slam twice and the first pair to own the four major titles and Olympic gold at the same time.
With all of those accomplishments, the Bryan brothers have been selected as the United States Olympic Committee’s 2012-13 Olympic Team of the Year.
The twins will be honored Oct. 29 in New York. Other winners this year are: alpine skier Ted Ligety (Olympic SportsMan of the Year), track athlete Raymond Martin (Paralympic SportsMan of the Year), swimmer Katie Ledecky (Olympic SportsWoman of the Year), cyclist Monica Bascio (Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year) and the U.S. men’s 4x100-meter track & field team of Richard Browne, Blake Leeper, Jerome Singleton and Jarryd Wallace (Paralympic Team of the Year).
The Bryan brothers started the year with a win at the Apia International Sydney and their sixth Australian Open title for their 13th major doubles title, breaking the record they shared with Australians John Newcombe and Tony Roche.
“It feels real good to have that record,” Mike Bryan said after the Australian Open. “To be a part of history is pretty special. We weren’t thinking about it much out there, but now that we have it, it’s going to be fun to look back on our career and say we have the most Grand Slams. It’s a big record, so we’re pretty excited about it.”
The Bryans won their 800th match as a team at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship semifinals in April in Houston before adding tour wins in Madrid and Rome in May.
The 35-year-old twins won the French Open in June for the second time, becoming the first doubles team to win each Grand Slam twice in a career. The French Open was the Bryan brothers’ first major title, and that 2003 victory still holds a special place for them.
“This is the first one we won back in the day and kind of launched our career,” Mike Bryan said after winning the French Open. “This is the toughest Slam to win, I think. Clay is an equalizer and makes a lot of teams better.”
The Bryan brothers made more tennis history a month later, winning Wimbledon for the third time and earning the sport’s first Golden Slam.
The Bryan brothers — who went to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and earned a bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games — also won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games at Wimbledon.
“That’s the best trophy,” Bob Bryan told Inside Tennis this summer. “That high lasted a few months. When people come to the house, they don’t want to see the Wimbledon trophy or the Davis Cup, they want to see the gold.”
Mike Bryan said he and his brother never dreamed of winning the four majors in a row.
“I didn’t think anything could feel as sweet as the gold medal, but this one just feels like there’s a ribbon around our career,” Mike Bryan said after Wimbledon. “It’s too hard to dominate in doubles. Maybe we had a little luck involved along the way. We just took them one at a time. It just added up.”
Their victory at Wimbledon was part of a 25-match win streak.
The Bryan brothers won their 25th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati in August — a victory that clinched their year-end No. 1 ranking — before falling short of another record at the U.S. Open.
A semifinal loss (to the fourth-seeded team of Radek Stepanek and Leander Paes) left the twins two matches shy of becoming the first team since Australia’s Ken McGregor Frank Sedgman — who won seven majors in 1951-52 — to earn a “Calendar Grand Slam.”
“As competitors, we hate to lose and we knew what was riding on this match and the opportunity of what we could have accomplished,” Bob Bryan said after U.S. Open.
“Once we (won Wimbledon) we didn’t really get to rest on our laurels too much. It’s a never-ending run of history and records and there is always something on the horizon. That’s what makes this sport so much fun, is, there is always the next goal.”
The twins wrap up the season this week at the Valencia Open 500 and at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November — which they’ve won three times — in London.
The Bryans grew up playing together, winning their first doubles tournament at age 6. They won six U.S. Tennis Association junior national titles and the 1996 U.S. Open junior boys’ doubles title. The Bryan brothers played together at Stanford, leading the Cardinal to two national titles and beginning their tradition of a celebratory chest bump after wins.
“We were born to play doubles together,” Mike Bryan told Inside Tennis. “The way it evolved has been that our destiny was to play together and we’re still doing it. It’s what we always loved doing, especially as twins — a package deal.”
Tom Glave has written for TeamUSA.org since 2011 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He covered prep and college sports for newspapers in Missouri and Arkansas for nine years and now works part-time in the Houston area.