Bob and Mike Bryan are looking to win a record 12th career Grand Slam at the Australian Open.
© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
By Matt Cronin, special to USTA.com
MELBOURNE, Australia - Bob Bryan will not play Davis Cup against the Swiss and no wonder, his wife Michelle is due to give birth next weekend and he's already having visions of what he's going to do with his daughter, Micaela.
"I've had some weird dreams," he said. "I'm seeing a lot of diapers and applesauce."
Bob is so excited about his daughter's impending birth that he already set up a web site for her, www.Micaelabryan.com, which counts off the time left for his wife to deliver. It says "time left to cook."
"She's resting. No contractions yet. It's looking like she's going to deliver a little after the finals, hopefully,'' said Bob, who added that even if Michelle delivers early he won't return to Florida because it's more than a 24 hour journey back to Florida and it's highly unlikely that he would make it on time anyway. But her parents live in the same building and her sister lives across the street, so he feels she has a good support network.
The Bryans are both entering different stages of their lives, with Bob about to become a dad and Mike now engaged to his British girlfriend, Lucille Williams. They will be married in November in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Bob, who was married at the end of 2010, says he blazed a trail for his 33-year-old twin
"He's a family man and I followed suit and held out as long as possible," Mike said. "I just watch Bob do it - he's the guinea pig. It's cool."
Fortunately for U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier, Mike's potential partners for the Davis Cup tie in Fribourg, Switzerland, February 10-12, are no rookies. They had better not be, as the Swiss are led by the legendary Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.
The Bryans hold a 19-2 record in Davis Cup and have been the glue that has held the team together since they debuted in 2003.
Courier has not yet officially named a team, but Mardy Fish, John Isner and Mike have made themselves available. The injured Andy Roddick has opted out of the tie, which will be held on indoor clay. Courier might pick Sam Querrey, who has won a clay court title before, or the promising teenager Ryan Harrison, as the fourth man on the team.
Mike Bryan did play with Fish in a win in Spain in 2008. Isner and Querrey have won doubles titles together, so any one of the three is a good option. Bob would like to be there, but his teammates and captain understand.
" I called Jim in November and he was supportive," said Bob. "He said it's probably not a smart play, you won't have your head in the game. Jim told a story [from when he was playing ] that Richey Reneberg's wife had a baby and he went to play a Davis Cup tie and he had never seen Richey miss a return in his whole life, and at that tie, he couldn't make one return."
The Bryan brothers are aiming for their sixth Australian title and on Sunday, advanced to the quarterfinals with an odd 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 win over the Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins on Sunday. They are at home in Melbourne and love the slow hard courts. Like singles monsters Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray they prefer slow hard courts so they can work on point construction.
"The top guys are confident in their tennis and fitness and you want to get into the points," Bob said. "You just don't want to get blown off the court by an [Ivo] Karlovic or [Milos] Raonic. You want to use your abilities."
The Bryans have not been perfect in every set in Melbourne, but they have not lost a match since the 2008 quarterfinals. In their last three title runs, they've had to contest seven three-setters. They haven't been automatic, but more than good enough.
"The conditions suit us and we are not sick of each other yet," Mike said with a laugh. "And then there is the magic here. Fans are pretty knowledgeable and appreciate doubles. It's a happy Slam for us."
With a record 76 team titles and a Slam on every surface, there aren't too many marks left for the twins to achieve except a major one that is staring them straight in the face. If they win the 2012 Aussie Open it would be their 12th Slam overall, and then they would pass the "Woodies," Australians Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge, for the most major titles ever.
"It's not an end-all if we don't get it here but we'd love to just get that record," Bob said. "That would take a little pressure off because we're thinking about it a lot. That would be cool to get it here in Australia, home of the Woodies.''