Bob and Mike Bryan are widely regarded as the greatest doubles team of all time, but Grand Slam success has eluded them the last two years.
The American twins, now 38, last won a major in Flushing Meadows in 2014. Defending their title at the U.S. Open a year later, the Stanford alums were stunned in the first round by countrymen Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey.
The brothers aren’t dominating like they used to, but even at their advanced age they’re hardly pushovers. Bob and Mike are fifth and sixth in the doubles rankings, respectively, and they’ve posted a 37-15 record in 2016. In April they won titles in Houston and Barcelona, and in May they captured the trophy at the Masters event in Rome.
For years there was speculation that they would hang up their racquets after the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro—which they ended up skipping—but retirement doesn’t appear to be in the cards any time soon.
“We’re still hungry to win more titles, and we’re still having fun,” Bob told TENNIS.com on Thursday after announcing a partnership with KT Tape. “It is more challenging to be out here with family. Our lives have become more complicated as we’ve gotten a little older. We really want to go out with a bang. We don’t want to limp off the tour. We’ve always said [we wanted to] blast our way off with a big run.
“We feel like we’ve very capable of that. That’s why we’ve hired a new coach. We’re working as hard as we’ve ever worked in the gym, and we’re not going to sail off into the sunset without doing something big.”
After an 11-year partnership, the Bryans are no longer working with David MacPherson. Switching gears, they’re now under the tutelage of Serbian Dusan Vemic.
The 16-time doubles Grand Slam champions do not have a timetable for when they’ll stop playing, and are rather taking it one week at a time. They did admit that they’ll re-assess where their heads are at after the upcoming U.S. Open, November’s World Tour Finals and every major tournament thereafter.
“Everyone wants to retire the way [Pete] Sampras retired, finishing with the U.S. Open title or finishing No. 1,” Mike told TENNIS.com. “That’s the storybook ending, and hopefully we’ll achieve that. “
The Bryan brothers feel especially at home at the U.S. Open, where they are five-time champions. They’ve achieved an incredible amount of success at the United States’ Slam, and tend to get up for it more than they do other tournaments.
“It’s where we get the most fan support, by far,” Bob told TENNIS.com when asked to compare it to the other three majors. “It’s the loudest matches you play all year. There’s just nothing like it. The New York fans, they’re unlike any other. They’re really not afraid to yell out what they feel, and luckily that’s brought out the best in us throughout the years.
“… Once we step on the court, it’s where we feel the most electric, and usually that carries us.”
Mike echoed his brother’s sentiment, adding that winning in New York is extra special.
“I would say it’s [the most] rewarding [to win],” he said. “For us, it’s the biggest Slam. It’s the most fan support. We play in the biggest stadiums with the biggest houses. So it does make it more gratifying to win this one.”