08-27-2006, 02:48 PM
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Bryans Lead Doubles Revolution and Tour 8/24/06
By Matthew Cronin, special to USTA.com
If Mike and Bob Bryan hadn’t popularized the chest bump in tennis, who knows where the men’s doubles game would be today?
But the charismatic California twins have taken the doubles game on their broad shoulders and have helped to nudge it back toward the limelight.
They are the standard bearers for the ATP’s Doubles Revolution campaign and with their father, Wayne, they are largely responsible for convincing the ATP Tour not to completely do away with doubles specialists.
Part-time musicians, the Bryans just composed a song (appropriately titled, “Revolution”), which celebrates the team part of the sport and just how exciting it can be to view rapid-fire, quick-handed landscape of modern doubles.
They understand that in order to insure that doubles remains an integral part of the pro game, they must give fans a little extra something to keep them coming back to the ticket counters.
Unless they are playing in front of a hostile crowd in a foreign land, the Bryans are one of the most animated duos on court, hand-slapping, yelling, and, of course, flying high in the air so chest can meet chest.
“This is an entertainment industry,” Bob said after he and Mike won their third 2006 US Open Series Masters shield in Toronto. “We want to put on a good show for the fans. We were signing autographs yesterday.
They were like, ‘Where was the chest bump? We didn't see it.’ We're like, ‘Okay, we'll give you one tomorrow.’ We don't want to get [Canadian Daniel] Nestor's fans riled up. We wanted to keep then down. People were asking for it. We decided to put in a couple today.”
It’s one thing to develop an entertaining shtick, but it’s another to become the tour’s top team. This year, the Bryans have more than solidified their status as tennis’ dominant pairing. They’ve won six titles in 2006, and at Wimbledon, completed a career Grand Slam. In Toronto, they nailed their 18 win a row and fourth consecutive title.
They will be a substantial favorites going into the US Open, where they won their first crown last year over Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi.
“Best streak of our career,” said Mike. “It all started at Wimbledon. Down two sets to one and a break, toughed that one out. Went on an amazing run to win our first Wimbledon title and complete the career Slam. Feels like all the pressure has been lifted off of us. We're just having fun playing tennis now. We don't have that burning desire to win that last Grand Slam title. We got them all. Now we're just trying to pile them on top.”
The twins have won four Slam crowns - beginning with their first one at 2003 Roland Garros, their second at the 2005 US Open and their third and fourth at this year's Australian Open and Wimbledon. They've been the world's top ranked doubles team for the past two years and are a tremendous bet to do the same in 2006, as they lead the rankings by nearly 1200 points.
By winning the career Slam, the 28-year-old lefty (Bob)-righty (Mike) combination gave themselves a shot at the Hall of Fame. They are only one of three Open Era teams to do so joining Jacco Eltingh and Paul Harhuis of the Netherlands and Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge of Australia.
Wimbledon was the brothers’ seventh consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam doubles final and when they won it, Bob hit a ball into the crowd and then Mike jumped into Bob’s arms.
“We've been thinking about this career Slam since we won the U.S. Open and the Australian back-to-back” said Mike at Wimbledon.
“I told Bob, right when I hugged him, ‘We got 'em all, man, we got 'em all.’ Mike said. “It's the best feeling in the world. If someone would have said when we started out that you are gonna have all four Grand Slam titles by the time your career is over, I would have said you're a pathological liar. It's so hard to win one. To have all four, and they've happened so quick over the last two years, it’s pretty cool. Especially to share it with your twin brother."
Just like they have in Davis Cup, the Bryans picked up the pieces for other Americans when the going was tough at Wimbledon. No U.S. singles players advanced to the quarterfinals, but America has always has had consistent, standout doubles teams.
The Bryans may just end up going down as the best U.S. team of the Open Era.
“We got a title for the USA,” Mike said. “It feels good to get a title for those guys. They had a shocking Wimbledon to their standards. We stepped up, which is pretty cool. [US Davis Cup captain] Pat McEnroe was at our match and supporting us, saying, ‘Do it for the U.S.’ After we saw him, he's like, ‘You guys got one more to win now, and that's Davis Cup.’”
Speaking of Davis Cup, since being named to the squad in 2003, the identical twins have notched an 8-1 record in Cup play. When the U.S. travels to Russia for the September semifinals, captain McEnroe will again be counting on the boys to make Saturday into automatic point for the USA.
"They genuinely love the competition," McEnroe said. "We have fun in practice every day. It's competitive, but in a positive way. When they're playing in a tough match, in a tight situation, they still joke with each other and get into it. It makes it special."
The Bryans will not only be going for their second consecutive crown in New York, but Bob will play mixed doubles with the legendary Martina Navratilova in her last tournament.
At Wimbledon, Mike got the chance to team with the 49-year-old Navratilova and they reached the final.
“Martina asked me, I thought it would be an honor to play the last Grand Slam with her,” Bob said. Mixed doubles is fun. You can't take it too seriously. Anything can happen out there. You're losing serve all the all over the place. Just kind of got to smile and have fun. If you take it too seriously, it doesn't go your way.”
While the Bryans are sure to have a blast playing mixed, they will put their game faces on for the men’s doubles. Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal are favored to reach the men’s singles final, but in doubles, it’s the 6-foot-4 inch twosome from Camarillo who are expected to make hay for the USA once again.
“American doubles, we got it taken care of,” Bob said.
Bryans || Djokovic || Paire || Chiudinelli || Nalbandian || Hanley || Rojer || Nadal
Söderling || Verdasco || Wawrinka || Simon || O. Rochus || Leo Mayer
Björkman || Arthurs || Edberg || Rafter || T.Johansson || M.Norman || Aspelin
11-30-2006, 01:36 AM
Vamos Mandy :)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Looking for Andy's forehand with Sarah and Re...
Re: News, articles about the twins...
From a SoCal paper
Bryan Brothers Double the Fun
No. 1 Doubles Team to Highlight PTC Anniversary
November 29, 2006
Steve Galluzzo , Sports Editor
If it's true that the best things in life are free then the Palisades Tennis Center is the place to be this Sunday. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Tennis Center staff have organized 'Rackets, Stars and Guitars,' a family event chock full of world-class talent from sports and entertainment.
Although the entire event is free, attendees are encouraged to donate old tennis rackets, which will be donated to underprivileged kids, Los Angeles Parks, Toys for Tots and after-school Tennis Programs. PTC staff are hoping to collect 1,000 rackets. If you don't have any rackets, bring a toy.
Headlining are Bob and Mike Bryan, the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the world, who will play an exhibition against fellow touring pros.
Additionally, Grand Slam champion and former Palisadian Pam Shriver will be there with her husband George Lazenby (who played James Bond in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'). Actresses and frequent Palisades Tennis Center patrons Elisabeth Shue, Donna Mills, Camryn Manheim, Rae Dawn Chong and Melissa Rivers of the TV Guide Channel are also attending, as are comedian Jon Lovitz and Gavin Rossdale (lead singer of the rock band Bush).
Local pro beach volleyball legends Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos will play an exhibition in the Rec Center gym.
Born and raised in Southern California, the Bryans have dominated men's tennis for the last five years and have won all four professional tennis Grand Slam tournaments: Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open. They have shattered many other records, including reaching an unprecedented seven Grand Slam Finals in a row. They are just now in the prime of their careers.
"The Bryan Brothers are now one of the top three or four attractions in all of pro tennis along with [Roger] Federer and [Andy] Roddick,' says John Muir, who runs Worldwide Tennis for Wilson Sporting Goods, one of the PTC event's sponsors. "They only play in packed center court stadiums now and their autograph sessions are the most popular in tennis.'
The Bryans' rise to fame both on and off the tennis court has been meteoric. Born two minutes apart, they were both straight A students, No. 1-ranked national juniors and both received full-ride scholarships to Stanford, where they led their team to NCAA Titles both years they played before turning pro. Bob did the unthinkable in 1998, winning the NCAA singles, doubles and team competition all in the same year.
Not only do the Bryans excel on the court, they are talented musicians as well. Their band plays rock concerts all over the world. Bob is a virtuoso on keyboard and a great producer and Mike was an accomplished drummer but switched to guitar because of wrist issues a couple of years ago.
"These guys are flat-out talented musicians, great guys and incredible role models," says Fender Musical Instruments Senior Vice President Richard McDonald (another event sponsor).
'In my position, I get to see some great musicians and the Bryan's hold their own as the real deal. They are genuinely passionate about their music and it shows.'
The Bryans' parents, Wayne and Kathy, were both tennis players and coaches. Kathy reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 1965 and Wayne is a world-renowned announcer at many pro events, including the U.S. Open and Nasdaq-100 in Key Biscayne. He is also the author of "Raising Your Child To Be A Champion in Arts, Athletics and Academics."
Growing up they did not let their boys play each other in tournaments, so Bob and Mike took turns defaulting when they were scheduled. 'Family was our first priority and we were not going to let any tennis match get in the way of that,' Wayne says.
The Bryan Brothers, who are currently appearing in People Magazine's 'Sexiest People' issue, are now the driving force behind America's recent success in Davis Cup, having compiled a 9-1 record. They each gave up promising singles careers because by making it to the doubles final each week, they could never arrive on time for the singles qualifier at the following weeks' tournament. Collectively they have wins over No. 3-ranked Nicolay Davydenko, No. 4-ranked James Blake, Tim Henman, Robbie Ginepri, Taylor Dent and Mardy Fish. Together they made doubles one of the most heavily-marketed components of pro tennis and an integral part of all tournaments.
'I think tennis is one of the best gifts you can give a child and one of the best things a family can do together,' says Palisades Tennis Center and Tennis Channel Television Network founder Steve Bellamy. 'It is a sport that gives you fitness for life. It can be played at any skill level, it is gender neutral, it is played in every country in the world and there are nearly one million tennis courts in public parks across America, most of which are free to the public. You can learn tennis when you are age two and still be playing it when you are 102.'
Bellamy is no stranger to music as he recorded five albums, toured the country and had singles on national radio before founding the Tennis Center. He has spent a lot of time playing music and concerts with the Bryan Brothers, performing at venues in, among other places, London, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles.
Bellamy recently acquired the recording studio in the 881 Alma Real Building where the PTC's corporate offices are now located.
'The fact that the greatest doubles team in the history of the sport is coming and people can actually hit with them before watching them perform is a less than rare opportunity,' Bellamy says. 'And the fact that after the tennis is over you get to watch the greatest doubles team in the history of beach volleyball before a Bryan Brothers concert is icing on a great cake.'
Two kids who can't wait to watch the two pros they most admire and emulate are Derek and Garret Vincent. 'Even though we're cousins, we want to be just like the Bryan brothers, great at tennis and great friends,' Calvary student Derek says.
'Just like Bob and Mike, we want to be great sports and chest bump after a great shot,' Garret adds. 'We even want to be in a band. We practice using our racquets as air guitars!'
A player who has grown up at the Tennis Center and holds the No. 1 national ranking in boys doubles is 15-year-old Walker Kehrer. 'I can't believe the Bryan Bros are coming to the park,' he says. 'They have been my favorite players since I started playing at the PTC 10 years ago and I've seen them win all four Grand Slams.'
Kehrer will be in Florida on Sunday for the worlds' biggest junior tournament, the Orange Bowl. 'If I lose I'll be back to play the Bryan Brothers on my home court and if I win I'll be in Florida, hopefully winning the same tournament that some of the greatest players in the game have all played,' he says 'So I'm good either way.'
This is not the first time the Palisades Tennis Center has hosted a pro exhibition. Shortly after the facility opened in late 1996, Jimmy Connors played a charity match against Palisadian John Lloyd. In July 1997, Adidas sponsored an exhibition between ATP Tour pros Marcos Ondrusca and Michael Joyce. Patrick Rafter and Byron Black took on Jan-Michael Gambill and his brother Torrey in a Prince-sponsored exhibition in July 1998. The Gambill brothers returned the following year with fellow pro Taylor Dent for an Adidas-sponsored exhibition.
"Our family has experienced so many wonderful events in the Palisades over the years, says Palisadian Jimmy Dunne. 'But the Jimmy Connors/John Lloyd exhibition was one of my favorite days in our town. It was the best of the Palisades. Hundreds of families blanketed the hillside of the park watching two of games greats'. Martin Short emceeing that match was absolutely hysterical.'
Dunne is looking forward to Sunday as well: 'The way the Bryan Brothers move together and play together will be a treat to watch at our town park."
The Palisades Tennis Center is home to one of the best junior programs in the country and has gained worldwide recognition for its "live ball" drills and innovative teaching techniques.
'This is an exciting time for tennis in the Palisades,' says PTC manager Heidi Wessels. 'We have had our best year at the park, the courts have been packed, we have just finished a complete pro shop re-model and are adding a number of new clothing lines to the shop including Nike and possibly LaCoste.'
Rivers, who lives in the Palisades and plays regularly at the PTC, is grateful for the chance to watch world-class tennis practically in her own backyard: 'For kids in the Palisades to have an opportunity to watch and hit against the pros is awesome. My son Cooper is turning six on Friday and he's in the big hitters class. I've seen the Bryans perform music, but have never gotten to see them play tennis other than on television. I can't wait.'
Parking is free at 881 Alma Real next to the Rec Center, courtesy of Palisadians Greg Schem and Bill Simon.
'I encourage anyone who has never seen tennis, or never seen a rock concert, to come out and watch,' Wayne Bryan says. 'The Bros are pumped and it is going to be quite an event.'
12-07-2006, 09:13 PM
Vamos Mandy :)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Looking for Andy's forehand with Sarah and Re...
Re: News, articles about the twins...
Bryan twins bump it up a notch
Flashy doubles team a big hit at Shriver's charity exhibition
By Sandra McKee
December 7, 2006
It came in the last game of the set - the Bryan brothers' famed chest bump.
It came after a point in which each brother had made a terrific play. Bob made the first, keeping the ball in play with an amazing backward backhand on what looked like a winner. Mike made the next, splitting Mardy Fish and Robby Ginepri with a winning, driving volley deep into the middle of the court.
Mike looked at Bob, and Bob at Mike. Smiles burst out. A hand slap. And then, the leap into the air for the bump.
The crowd of more than 5,000 at 1st Mariner Arena for Pam Shriver's Mercantile Tennis Challenge laughed and applauded in appreciation.
"They're good, really good," said Fish, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, after he and Ginepri had lost, 8-4, in the pro set. "I played them in Los Angeles and you come off the court not believing how you lost. ... I mean, we'd played well, but you just say, 'God, they're really good.' "
Ginepri was equally enamored, admitting he even likes watching them practice.
"They do all these quick drills with their hands that are amazing," he said. "They just always know what the other is going to do."
Last night, it showed as the twins displayed their versatility. In some games it was all about positioning. In others it was about hitting harder than the other guys. In others it was about simply making one more play.
And some of it happened so fast it was hard to see the ball - like on the third point of the first game. Ginepri hit a slow-moving, high return that appeared headed deep into the service box or the backcourt, but the ball suddenly came back at him at the speed of sound when Mike Bryan cut it off at the net with a leaping slam-dunk.
"I thought it was great tennis by all four of us," Bob Bryan said.
"I hope the fans had a great time," Mike said. "Pam did a great job putting this event together."
"And we look forward to coming back and doing this again," Bob said.
This is the 21st year of the event that raises money for children's charities in Baltimore. It has raised more than $4 million over the years, and last night a check for $225,000 was presented to the Baltimore Community Foundation for distribution.
The evening began with Fish, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in singles, and Ginepri, a rising American currently in the top 50, playing an eight-game pro set in the Northrop Grumman Legends Match that Fish won, 8-6, with a break in the last game.
The pro set is won by the player who wins eight games. If the score is tied 8-8, the set is decided by a tiebreaker.
In the Orioles Challenge, Martina Navratilova teamed with her U.S. Open-winning doubles partner, Bob Bryan, to beat Lindsay Davenport and Mike Bryan, 6-4. Afterward, each Bryan brother teamed for one game with Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts against Navratilova and Davenport - the score is unimportant, but Mike Bryan caused a stir by hitting a ball into Navratilova's chest. After a sincere apology, play continued.
Navratilova, who retired after she and Bob won the U.S. Open mixed doubles title in September, said she is having a wonderful time playing in celebrity and charity matches now that the pro pressure is off.
A night like last night, she said, is especially fun when it allows her to play with and against the Bryans.
"They're just so great," Navratilova said. "They're such boys on the court, they make me laugh."
And they leave their opponents happy, too.
"It's fun playing them no matter what," Ginepri said. "No one else is doing the chest bump."
Said Fish: "They're obviously a good team. But now, let's play them in singles and see what happens."
• NOTE // At the end of the evening, host Shriver presented Navratilova with a birthday cake and champagne in honor of her 50th birthday, and the crowd sang "Happy Birthday."
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