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Coaching in the Bigs: Macpherson believes Bryan Bros. may play in 2021
Few coaches know Bob and Mike Bryan better than David Macpherson, who is optimistic the brothers will lace up for one last season in 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted their planned farewell year.
Published Jun 09, 2020
Last November, after 21 incredible years on tour, Bob and Mike Bryan announced they would end their storied careers at their home Grand Slam tournament, a fitting swan song for America’s most successful male players in the past two decades. Since 2003, Bob and Mike Bryan have won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles, most recently at the 2014 US Open. With the current season looking more like a wash with each passing day, their former coach David Macpherson believes the brothers will return for at least part of the 2021 season.
“I think there’s a great chance that Mike and Bob might tee it up again in 2021,” Macpherson told Paul Annacone on this week’s edition of Coaching in the Bigs.
If the US Open takes place in 2020, there will almost certainly be no fans in attendance. That scenario isn't exactly the sendoff anyone envisioned for the the greatest men's doubles team in history.
“I’m hoping they come back with a clear head, a great appreciation for the game, and playing at a higher level than when they left,” Macpherson said. “They were really looking forward to Indian Wells, Miami, really all the US tournaments.”
Bob and Mike at the 2020 Australian Open- Getty Images
It’s pretty rare for players to retire at, or near their peak, and while the Bryans haven’t tasted Grand Slam glory in nearly six years, they remained a formidable force, despite an injury that forced Bob to have an implant inserted in his right hip. In 2019, the duo won two titles, including their sixth Miami Open and successfully defended their Delray Beach crown in February, just before the coronavirus pandemic took over.
“We’ve been on tour for 21 years,” Bob told Tennis Channel Live last year. "Tennis is in our blood, so it feels like a part of us is dying."
While nothing is set in stone, perhaps no one, except their father Wayne, knows the twins better than Macpherson, who coached them for over a decade, from 2005 to 2016.
“I think everyone would love to see them return,” Macpherson said. “They love the game so much, I hope they choose to do that and I think there’s a good chance they will.”