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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Looking for Andy's forehand with Sarah and Re...
Re: Bryan Twins
The Double Life of Bryans
by Jason Phelan
Wednesday, 25 January, 2006
After falling at the last hurdle in the past two Australian Opens, the top-seeded doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan are more determined than ever to go one step further and take home the title in 2006.
The American duo moved a step closer to attaining their goal on Wednesday with a three-set win over Jan Hernych and Ivo Karlovic to advance to the semi-finals.
"We think this could be our year - we'd love to get back into the final and take another shot at it - we were really disappointed to lose our second final last year," said Mike soon after coming off court.
"We're playing well and we're getting better every match, obviously everyone that's left now is playing, so we'll have to step it up a little more," agreed Bob.
The left-right-hand combination benefits from an uncanny on-court chemistry that saw them nab five titles last year including their home Grand Slam - the US Open - and finish the season as the No.1-ranked partnership in the world.
The success is something they believe comes from being identical twins and playing together so often.
"We know what's going on out there - we don't lose too many points with balls going down the middle or with confusion, like some singles players will on a doubles court," says Bob.
That's the key to their success - they are a specialist doubles team, not two singles players that play doubles.
Mike says of facing off against guys who predominantly play singles is one big advantage.
"Sometimes they're a little uncomfortable at the net or sometimes they leave the middle open or they don't cover each other as well as good teams do.
"We just try to expose the weaker volleyer most of the time. We're lucky, we've been playing together our whole lives and we move together as a team, but sometimes these guys have played together for one week."
The decision to focus solely on doubles competition was made in 2001 after both felt their games were suffering from dividing their attentions between singles and doubles.
"Our first two years on the tour neither of us had a title and we were trying to do both singles and doubles and they were both just levelling out," Mike recalls.
"We wanted to make the Olympics, we wanted to play Davis Cup and we had a few doubles goals that we wanted to accomplish, so we decided we had to sacrifice one for the other.
"We decided to play all the big tournaments in doubles and not play the challengers in singles and that's when we started winning titles and when our doubles really took off because we just focused all our energy on it."
The Californians spend the majority of the year touring together and are inseparable off-court as well, so do they ever get tired of each other?
"When you're together all year, you can get on each other's nerves," says Mike with a grin.
"But we're best friends also and we like doing the same things - we get along more than we don't."