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Bryans win Australian Open for record 13th Grand Slam title

January 26, 2013 10:30 AM
With their victory at the Australian Open, Bob and Mike Bryan set the record for most Grand Slam men's doubles titles in tennis history.
By Matt Cronin, special to USTA.com
MELBOURNE—Bob and Mike Bryan are a very confident pair of twins and don’t mind putting on a big show, as evidenced by their signature flying chest bump.
But the California natives are also humble, which is perhaps why they have been able to stay grounded despite an incredibly successful career. After winning their record 13th Grand Slam men’s doubles title and sixth Australian Open crown with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dutchmen Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling, they refused to give themselves pats on the back. 
Statistically, the Bryans are the greatest men’s doubles team ever. With a victory at the 2012 US Open, they passed Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde for the most Grand Slam men’s doubles titles in the Open era, and with their win yesterday they broke a tie with John Newcombe and Tony Roche for the most men’s doubles Grand Slam titles in tennis history. 
They also own a record 84 team titles overall and an Olympic gold medal. That's Roger Federer territory for the 34-year-olds.
"We never really think we're that good," Mike said. "We've put our head down every day. We just don't let each other slack off.  If one guy is playing a little worse, the other guy is on him.  We just don't let our level drop.  We just let [the media] talk about how good we are.  We don't really go, ‘We're amazing.’ We don't go home and talk about our records.  It's fun to look at our trophies once in a while, but we're always just trying to push the bar a little higher and get better."
The Bryans have pushed the bar extremely high throughout their superlative careers and played a near-perfect match in the final. Serving huge, returning crisply and dominating at the net, they committed zero unforced errors in the 53-minute contest, while also nailing 23 winners.
That’s air-tight tennis, and while the twins won't brag about how spectacular they can be when they are clicking, they do agree that they've advanced the game of doubles.
"I think the level of doubles has gotten a lot better over the years," Mike said. "The singles guys bring the heat off the ground. I think we play a certain style where we get all over the net, serve big, really close and fill the middle.  I see a lot of the teams doing that more often." 
The left-handed Bob added: "I feel like the power has gone up a lot in the last 10 years.  Guys are a little bit tougher to break now with the new racquets and the strings. These guys were serving bombs. But we just try to make the holes as small as possible, make it as uncomfortable for these guys to play, make them hit shots they don't want to hit, and just kind of try to be a wall at net and make guys sweat a little bit."
Even though they were both recently married and Bob is the father of a 1-year-old daughter—born shortly after last year’s Australian Open—they have packed their schedule for the coming year. As the United States’ most successful team, they feel an obligation to play as many American events as they can, so they will fly to Florida for the U.S. Davis Cup tie against Brazil next week, and then will go to the tournaments at San Jose, Memphis, Delray, Indian Wells, Miami and Houston. 
They also play exhibitions and do a lot of charity work. As the very definition of tennis players who care, they dedicated their 2013 Australian Open title to Andrew Florent, who has been stricken with cancer and who is the best friend of their Aussie coach David MacPherson.
And with another title now behind them, they play on—all without ever seeming to lose their boundless enthusiasm
"One twin has to manufacture and pull the other twin along," Mike said with a smile. "A lot of sugar before the matches. We just don't let the other guy slip.  We're always moving our feet.  Sometimes we're faking it.  Sometimes we really don't have it in us, but we're just bouncing around trying to show the other guys we're bringing energy.  We're still excited to play big matches like this."
There are few records left for the Bryans to break, but they would like to keep up padding their title numbers, at least to a nice round figure like 100. They also want to finish the year at No. 1 again. 
But for now, they have a more immediate goal in mind—and that starts in Jacksonville in just five days’ time.
"It would be nice to win another Davis Cup, to have a couple of those once we retire," said Mike, who was on the 2007 team that won the title with Bob, Andy Roddick and James Blake. "We're really focusing on that. We have a great draw this year."
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For more coverage of American players at the 2013 Australian Open, see:


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