LONDON – Winners of their last 16 matches at the All England Club, Americans Bob and Mike Bryan had to lose at some point on the famed courts of SW19.
The twins – the reigning Olympic gold medalists and the most successful doubles team in tennis history – fell to the young pair of Vasek Pospisil of Canada and Jack Sock of the United States Saturday in the Wimbledon men’s doubles final in an epic five-set match, 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
It was the first loss for the Bryans at the All England Club – the site of the London 2012 Olympic Games – in 17 matches, having won Wimbledon a year ago and capturing their first gold medal there a year before.
“We love that court,” Mike Bryan said of the hallowed Centre Court. “We have great memories there, having won our last two finals. We felt confident stepping out there, but we were just up against a hot team. It could have gone either way.”
It should go the Bryan brothers’ way following this defeat – they’ve rebounded plenty of times before. They will enter the U.S. Open late next month without a major title to their name for the first time in two years and be tasked with trying to win in New York to keep alive a streak of 10 straight years of winning a major, dating back to 2005.
“We usually bounce back,” Mike said. “We’ve been in 26 Grand Slam finals; we’ve lost 11 of them, but it’s going to motivate us to go hit the gym. You can’t win ‘em all.”
Late last year the Camarillo, California, natives were named the United States Olympic Committee’s Olympic Team of the Year having – following their Olympic triumph in London – won four major titles in a row (the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon). Twelve months later, the 36-year-olds don’t hold any of the majors, but are still the world’s No.1 ranked team.
“You don’t sleep the night after one of these losses,” Bob Bryan added. “We won’t wake up too chipper tomorrow – maybe walk around in a fog for a couple of days.”
The Bryan brothers were chasing their 99th career doubles crown together and 16th Grand Slam. They will return to the United States for the summer to play in the U.S. Open Series leading up to the year’s final Grand Slam, beginning with a tournament in Washington, D.C., later this month.
“We’re going to play in the States,” Mike said. “It would be nice to get to 100 [tournament titles] in the U.S.”
The Bryan brothers set an all-time Grand Slam record in 2013 when they won at the Australian Open, moving past the legendary Australians John Newcombe and Tony Roche for 12 majors before adding two more to that haul.
“Unfortunately we were on the losing end today, which doesn’t feel good,” Bob concluded. “But we’ll look back on this run we had here with good feelings. It wasn’t always the prettiest of tennis, but I thought we fought for two weeks and turned it into a final. It was almost another trophy.”
Nick McCarvel is a freelance writer based in New York. He has covered all four of tennis' Grand Slams as well as the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games for NBCOlympics.com. McCarvel is a freelance writer for TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.