CHAT WITH BOB AND MIKE
November 1, 2005
Bryan Brothers Return Serve
Two-time Tennis Masters Cup defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan are locked in a two-way battle with Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi for top spot in the ATP Doubles Race. The Bryans answer your questions from the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
I know, that your favorite band is the Dave Matthews Band. Which of their songs in your favorite?
Réka Selmeczi from Hungary
Mike: Number 41 from the Crash album. I play it in my car the most and it's the one that we like playing in our band. But they have so many good ones.
Among the players in the Top 10 right now, who is your favorite (or most admired, on or off the court) and why? Please exclude Andy because he is your pal. Thanks!
Caloocan City, Philippines
Mike: I like the way Roger Federer acts off the court. He's laid back and never gets too serious in the locker room; he loves telling jokes. He's loose before matches and I like that.
If both of you could chose to play with a different partner, who would it be and why?
Mike: I like lefties so I'd probably pick Daniel Nestor, although he also plays the ad court, so I'll have to choose someone else. You gotta say Todd Woodbridge with nine Wimbledon titles. We haven't won one so if I played with him that would be my best chance.
Bob: Mark Knowles, because he's so solid and returns so well. He's a great friend of ours too.
I imagine one of your biggest dreams was accomplished this year at the US Open. What would you classify as your biggest goal in the 2006 season?
Bob: We'd still like to have a good run for Davis Cup and win that one day, so to do it in 2006 would be nice. We'd like to win a couple more grand slams and finish the year No. 1 again.
Mike: And stay healthy!
What specific workout do you do that is unique to doubles? Please give me a list of 4 or 5 things that will help my doubles.
Bob: One - We do a close volley drill. We start on the baseline and keep hitting volleys while we close in on the net. That way you hit volleys at every distance and end up with quick hands at the end. Two - We're both on the service line and we hit groundies to each other while moving in opposite directions. My dad took that drill from the Romanian Davis Cup team. It reinforces the independence of the hands and the feet. Three - A good poach drill requires three people, so we use our coach, David Macpherson. Bob hits returns and I practice poaching off the service volley. Four - Bob is at net and I'm at baseline. He feeds it in and we work on second balls after the return. We play up to 11 and if I come in and win I get an extra point.
How will you will spend your vacation time in December? Are you constantly training?
Stefanie Schwentker from Kansas City, Missouri
Mike: We'll take a few weeks off after Masters Cup and have a nice Thanksgiving. We'll then play a few exhibitions in Boise, Houston and Denver. We'll then start training for the new year with weights and gym work and then go to Hawaii right after Christmas and spend 10 days there. I'll take my girlfriend. We'll go snorkeling, hang out at the beach and pool and check out the volcanoes, maybe take a helicopter ride over one. A sunset cruise and watching the whales migrating will be on the agenda too.
Will either of you consider playing singles like Bob did in Basel?
Bob: Yes, it's something I'll definitely consider next year. I'll try to qualify whenever I have the chance. I feel like I'm playing some good singles at the moment and I want to give it a shot.
Mike: I'll be happy to be Bob's assistant coach. I just want to stay healthy. When I've played singles my body hasn't responded well. I'm more fragile than Bob.
Who do you think are the two most challenging doubles teams right now? What are you expectations for the Masters Cup in Shanghai?
Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Bob: There are lots of challenging teams out there but for us right now I'd have to say Bjorkman and Mirnyi. They're a very similar team to us with a big server and a good returner. We are 3-1 against them this year and we got them in the US Open final but they got us in final of French Open, which hurt badly. It's a tight race for No. 1 and we're bound to play them in the next couple of weeks. The winner of that match will likely be No.1. We'd love to go to Shanghai and three-peat
How does it feel knowing you're coming back to defend your Masters Cup title three years in a row? There's a lot of expectation.
Mike: The extra pressure we feel is more because the race for No. 1 is so close. We always put high expectations on ourselves and we always go in wanting to win tournaments. Masters Cup is a little different. You have to play pretty perfectly to win - you have to beat four or five of the top 8 teams in the world to win. Hopefully we'll do what we did the last two years when we caught fire at end of year.
How did you feel when the Chilean team (Gonzalez & Massu) won the match at the Olympics against you?
Bob: Thanks for the question. We appreciate that one! That loss really hurt because we were looking forward to the Olympics. The whole year it was one of our goals to get a medal. They caught us by surprise and played really good tennis. They were superhumans that week. That stung for a few weeks.
What kind of adjustments do you make in your game or strategy when going from one surface to another (grass to clay to indoor hardcourts)
"We play every surface different. On grass we try to take the ball out of air more and take over the net. On clay we string loose and use more variety - drop volleys and lobs, and play from the baseline a little more. On hard court we're a little in between, staying back some and coming in some."