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NEWS June 11, 2003
Bryan Brothers Meet the Press
Four days removed from their first Grand Slam title, Bob and Mike Bryan reflect on their historic achievement.
Bob and Mike Bryan are the most decorated team of brothers in the Open Era.
Bob and Mike Bryan took some time away from the Stella Artois Championships in London to sit in on a media conference call on Wednesday to speak about their experiences over the past week.
The Bryan's Roland Garros title made them the most successful team of brothers in The Open Era with 11 titles, one more than Tim and Tom Gullikson, to whom they've dedicated their Roland Garros victory.
Q. Regarding Phillip Farmer, I guess directed to Bob first, then Mike, how did you get involved with Phillip as your coach? How much has he helped your game?
MIKE BRYAN: Well, we met Phillip when he was working with (inaudible) Schneider maybe a couple years ago. But I went to Joplin, a challenger, early in the year. I went by myself. Phillip was there working with another player. He warmed me up for my matches, gave me some game plans. I won the challenger. It went really well. We were really happy with it.
But he started working with us -- Roland Garros was his third tournament with us. He started in Rome. He's an extremely hard worker. He gets in there in the weight room with us. He stretches us out. He scouts the matches. He has extremely good game plans for each match. He's very organized and professional. We're really happy working with Phillip.
Q. If you guys could both break it down mentally and physically, what do you think it was that brought your game to the next level together to win this Grand Slam title?
MIKE BRYAN: Well, to win a Grand Slam, you got to do everything right. We got there a week early to Paris. We got settled in our hotel, and we started working really hard, had like four or five practice matches before. When the tournament started, we were ready to go. We started off and just the momentum was building. We took one match at a time before the day started where we said Round 1, and then we just kept building.
You know, mentally it's tough because we were never in that situation before, never been in a Grand Slam final. When we went out there, we just told ourselves we got to believe and we got to be confident. We knew nerves were going to come into play, but I thought we fought them off pretty well.
BOB BRYAN: We were really strong mentally, because actually Mahesh Bhupathi told us that Grand Slam finals aren't about tennis, it's all mental. I think that was the case.
We got broken four times. I don't think we've ever won a match in the last five years where we've got broken five times. We're both good servers. In the past, that might have just freaked us out. But we stayed mentally tough the whole way through. That carried us through the Grand Slam final.
Q. Patrick McEnroe during the French Open mentioned he might have to start considering you guys for the Davis Cup, wondering if that's still a big goal of yours. Would you like to be named in September for the playoff against Slovak Republic?
BOB BRYAN: Obviously, when we came on the tour, Davis Cup was one of our biggest goals. Patrick McEnroe was in Paris watching all of our matches. He was really positive towards our games. He also said, he wasn't there for the finals, but, "Don't worry about Davis Cup, guys, just go out there and play hard. It looks good for you guys."
Davis Cup isn't a real big goal coming up. It's pretty far down the road. It's in September. We have Wimbledon, US Open coming up, which is our biggest goals right now. We're not really thinking about Davis Cup. We're thinking about being No. 1 in the world, winning Wimbledon.
Q. Concerning Phillip, you talked about how organized he is, how he gets in the weight room with you guys. How important is that as a coach for a guy that's willing to get in there and do the dirty work with you guys to get you ready for tournaments?
MIKE BRYAN: I think it's really important because, I mean, when you put in all that work, you put in the long hours on the court, off the court, you're mentally prepared. You feel really confident going into each match. When you're not prepared, you're not as confident.
Down breakpoint, you know you've put in all the work, you're going to hit a good serve. With Phillip, we've put in a lot of hours. We've probably put in the most hours in those three weeks than we have in a long time. We had meetings off the court. He would come to our room every night before the match, and we'd all sit down and discuss game plans, get it in our mind, spend half an hour going over certain stuff.
We all work together. We call ourselves the wolf pack. We're all -- we have good chemistry between the three of us. You know, we all like each other a lot.
Q. The reaction you've been receiving from everybody, has your dad's heart rate returned to normal yet?
BOB BRYAN: It's been nice. We walked into Queen's. Everyone we saw congratulated us. When Andre Agassi comes up to you and gives you a hug and says, "Congratulations. How does it feel?," You know you've done
something special. I guess everyone in Queen's watched it on TV, in the locker room. I guess there were a hundred people down there watching it. I mean, it's fun going into a tournament, everybody shakes your hand and says, "Great job."
MIKE BRYAN: Also, our e-mails have been flooded. Their e-mails are getting returned because our box is full. We have already gotten 250 e-mails. Any chance we get, we're trying to crank out 10 at a time, in between practice sessions, trying to write back everyone a personal response.
I mean, it's awesome. My parents drove by our high school, they have a banner out already that says, "Congratulations, Mike and Bob." It's just been awesome. Everyone has given us great support. I mean, every day there's something new that just makes you smile.
Q. Have your dad's feet touched the ground yet?
BOB BRYAN: He's pumped. My mom is building a trophy case at the house. The carpenter was over there last night. They had a barbecue, put the trophies out. They're loving it. We're all loving it. We're all flying. We're all in the clouds.
Q. Have you spoken to Tom Gully? If so, what was that conversation
BOB BRYAN: We haven't spoken to Tom yet, but my dad -- he knows my
dad's e-mail address and he's been sending some great e-mails. He's just
saying he's proud of us. He knew we'd break the record. Actually, before each time we got in the position, he was sending us great support in the e-mails. I guess he called my parents. We haven't spoken to him personally yet. I'm sure we'll see him at Wimbledon. He'll come up and give us a hug, say, "Great job."
We're great friends of him. He always says that twins got to stick together. I think it's made our doubles a little stronger because we're never going to get up on each other. Mike has a bad day, I have a bad day, we're both going to stick together.
Q. You guys have always been strong supporters of doubles. Did you
need this title particularly to really give legitimacy to your support of
it? What does it do for you in terms of that?
MIKE BRYAN: I mean, we've always loved doubles. We've had doubles
goals from the very beginning. Yeah, we wanted to help out doubles. We
know if we won a Grand Slam, we could popularize doubles and help doubles
out. Doubles is kind of slipping. They need a big team, they need some fun. Crowds want to come see us play because we're twins. I think we needed to win a big Grand Slam to be put on the map.
Q. Did you ever feel like a novelty act?
BOB BRYAN: Yeah, sort of. I mean, we were always one of the top teams, but we never won a big one. We beat everyone and we won tournaments, but a Grand Slam, I mean, would definitely put us in that top echelon. We wanted to be up there.
Q. Bob, do you buy the arguments that doubles is slipping, and
should it? Is it just as good, just as important as singles?
BOB BRYAN: Yeah, I mean, we definitely feel it is. I think a lot of the fans across the world think it is. I think 90% of people play doubles. You don't see two 65-year-old men out there grinding on the singles court. Everyone plays doubles.
I mean, we've always had good crowds. I think if tournaments and the ATP got the doubles players' names out there more, made these players more popular, I think it could grow. We're going to try to help that out. We've always put doubles a little bit ahead of singles. This was our goal, was to win a Grand Slam. We wanted to win singles Slams, but this was our goal, to win the doubles.
Q. Why is that? To do it together?
BOB BRYAN: To do it together. If I won a singles Slam, I think Mike would feel a little left out. To do it together is better, I think, just because we're always together. Now we have double the pleasure.
MIKE BRYAN: And to be a team and to stick together. I mean, my parents would rather see us win a doubles title. I mean, we're twins. The whole family is out on the court. It's not just one of us. It's the Bryan name out on the court. It's very special.
Q. Has the victory soaked in yet? What are your plans for the next
few weeks? What do you think it will soak in?
MIKE BRYAN: Actually, it's starting to sink in. The first couple days, it didn't really hit us. I mean, we went out, we were tired. But once we walked into Queen's, we saw the reaction from all our friends, the players, even the fans, now it's starting to sink in. We know what we've done.
Just looking at our e-mail box, seeing how many people we've touched, it's pretty amazing. I mean, we've worked our whole lives for this. We have had this goal since we were six years old to win a doubles Grand Slam. Right when you do it, you realize how much hard work you put in. Now if everything goes wrong in the rest of our careers, we at least have a Grand Slam. It's kind of cool.
BOB BRYAN: Yeah. But after the match, we all three sat down and we
talked for an hour. You know, we all came together, talked for an hour. We
wanted to use this to keep going. We all know what it takes now. We have
the mould of what it takes to win a Slam. I mean, this is going to help us a lot for the next Grand Slams we play. We're going to prepare the same way. We're not satisfied. We're going to keep trying to win these slams because this feeling is unbelievable. We want to keep chasing this feeling.
Q. What is your relationship like with Phillip off the court? How much does the good chemistry you talked about play a role in the success?
BOB BRYAN: We love Phillip. As young guys, we all love to hang out
together. We love music. He sings in our band now. I mean, we love going
out to clubs. It's cool because we love going to the gym, he likes lifting
with us. Before, we would go by ourselves. Now he's motivating us. He
goes in there with us and it keeps us fired up. Phillip is right here with us if you want to ask him a few questions. He's sitting on the bed with us.
Q. Have the endorsement calls been flying in?
BOB BRYAN: The endorsement calls?
BOB BRYAN: Sure, our agent, John Tobias, is working hard. He's letting us play tennis right now. I'm sure when we get home, he'll have some stuff for us to do.
Q. I hope that Double Minute chewing gum will call you guys.
BOB BRYAN: That would be fun. We've been trying to get that one for a while.
Q. Would that be a good one?
BOB BRYAN: It would be a fun one to do. We have a few good ones.
We have adidas, Wilson and Oakley. We're pretty thankful for them. They've
helped us out a lot.
Q. Is there going to be any greater emphasis by either/or both of
you guys on singles now? You've been saying your goal was the doubles. What now?
BOB BRYAN: Yeah, I mean, I really didn't know what was going to
happen here. I said, "Let me get that first Slam, I'll start working on the
singles." I don't think it's going to work that way now. We got this first
Slam. Now we just want to keep on going. We see a long road ahead in the
doubles. We have a lot of titles we want to win. We see Davis Cup. We see
the Olympics. This feels unbelievable.
MIKE BRYAN: Like a drug. You want more.
BOB BRYAN: You want more of it. I'm going to work hard on my
singles. I got a couple opportunities coming up. Hopefully this Grand Slam
title opens the door for some wildcards. I'm definitely not a doubles
special it. Mike is not either. We've played good singles in our career.
I'm just hoping this opens the opportunity so I can get out on the court and
prove myself in the singles.
Q. You don't consider yourselves doubles specialists?
BOB BRYAN: Definitely not. I mean, I have had some good wins out
here. I put singles on the back burner to do this right here, to win a
Grand Slam. I mean, this feels unbelievable. Better than any win I've ever
Q. Phillip, do you feel the guys are prepared on all of the
PHILLIP FARMER: Yeah, I do. It's funny, we talked about it
afterwards. One of their most comfortable surfaces or favorite surfaces, is
grass, which is exciting now. I had one reporter right after the finals ask
me what their favorite surface is. I'd have to say clay now. They semi-ed
in the US Open. They won Queen's, Newport I think two years in a row, going for three years coming up. They've semi-ed Wimbledon and the US Open. It really shows how well-rounded their games are, individually and as a team.Their singles and doubles individually and as a team, they're very
comfortable on all four surfaces (sic). It's exciting, because every time
we step on the court, even here at Queen's, we just feel very confident,
that every match we're in, we can win.
Q. You probably have to feel like you're on Cloud 9?
PHILLIP FARMER: It's very special. I mean, not only did both the
boys here have -- their huge goal was to win a Grand Slam. Even as a young
coach, I'll be 29 coming up in about a week, I started coaching seven years
ago. It's my seventh year coaching on the tour. I set a goal even for
myself that I wanted to coach a player or players to win a Grand Slam title.
Obviously that was a pretty high goal that I set. I mean, it's been a big
dream and passion of mine. I've worked very hard the last few years.
To get an opportunity to coach two amazing boys, twins, have it come
true with them, has been incredible. We've known each other many years.
I'm very good friends with the family, very good friends with each of them.
We all set the goal out there, we've worked extremely hard the last
month, month and a half. For it to come true is amazing. On top of it,
Mike won the mixed with fellow American Lisa Raymond, who the only Slam she hadn't won was the French Open. She's a good friend of mine, and theirs.
We won two out of the five Slams at the French. They didn't lose a set en
route to their first Grand Slam. The next morning I kind of went to their room, we just had to make sure it was true. We really did it. Yeah, it's special. It's special to do it with these guys who are great for the sport of tennis, USTA, everything they've done, just amazing competitors, amazing boys.
Q. Can you tell them apart?
PHILLIP FARMER: I finally can. I wasn't able to for a while there.
I didn't want to admit that. Ever since I started working with them, I've
been able to tell them apart. I got it down. Hopefully I don't choke.
Not sure if you heard, Ellen, but Pmac did say that he would choose Mike and Bob to play in the next DC tie for the USA this year (September), which will be played away on clay, now that they are GS Champions. They definitely deserve it!
Mike and Bob have won another title on the grass going into Wimbledon so they are confident.