Bryans beat McEnroes with ease in exhibition at MSG

Monday, March 03, 2014 /by
AP Photo
AP Photo

NEW YORK -- Bob and Mike Bryan won an intergenerational matchup of doubles-playing brothers, beating John and Patrick McEnroe 8-3 in an exhibition at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

John McEnroe added a little sizzle to the meeting a few months ago when he made some harsh comments about the current state of doubles, suggesting that top players today are the guys who weren't athletic enough to make it in singles. While the Bryans insisted there were no hard feelings, they respectfully disagree with his opinion, and they played Monday with the seriousness of an ATP Tour match.

There was no aiming any slams toward John's head. Instead, they picked on Patrick's volleys -- he doesn't play as much these days as his more-successful older brother. The twins needed 44 minutes to win the single pro set.

In John McEnroe's day, singles stars also competed in doubles, and he won nine Grand Slam doubles titles. Patrick won one: the 1989 French Open.

The Bryans have won a record 15 major doubles titles.

But age thwarted any test of John's theory that the doubles teams of his era were superior. John is 55, Patrick 47; the twins are 35. So the Bryans are far more athletic right now. On one point, they returned four different overheads as the McEnroes couldn't put them away. The Bryans celebrated with their signature chest bump.

Facing elimination at 0-7, the McEnroes finally won a game, and Patrick smacked a ball into the rafters in mock celebration.

The McEnroes then won the next game after the chair umpire overturned a line call based on the replay on the video screen -- it was an exhibition, after all. Maybe the Bryans lost focus, maybe the twins were trying to make things interesting, maybe the McEnroes finally got warmed up. Either way, the score got to 7-3 before the Bryans clinched the victory.

Mike Bryan said their father doesn't believe in the concept of playing a match for entertainment.

"He wanted us to stomp them," he said.

Later, Novak Djokovic faces Andy Murray.

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