Bob and Mike Bryan are changing up their return positions in a bid to return to the top.
Typically, the left-handed Bob has returned from the deuce court and the right-handed Mike from the ad court. In their opening-round match at the Australian Open against Chris Guccione and Andre Sa, however, they did the opposite.
“I think 2010 was the last time we played that way consistently,” Mike Bryan said. “It worked today. We got some returns going and had a lot more options with the second shot.
The 37-year-olds are planning to stick with their new positions for the rest of the tournament and remainder of the season, if it keeps working.
They were less successful in keeping their change-up a secret.
"They didn't seem too surprised," Mike said of their opponents. "We actually warmed up on the other side to try and trick them, and when they looked up to serve they didn't do a double take, so I think they were kind of expecting it. A couple of guys were practicing next to us ... It's like high-school gossip, it spreads like wildfire."
The Bryans are coming off a season that saw them fall from No. 1 to No. 4. They won six titles, their fewest since 2010.
The Bryans won their opener in straight sets.