Bryans On Verge of Individual Glory... Jointly!
Bob and Mike Bryan have made their name as one of the Open Era's greatest doubles teams. By winning Wimbledon in July, they became just the third team (Woodbridge/Woodforde and Eltingh/Haarhuis) to capture all four Grand Slam doubles titles since 1968.
But Bob and Mike also now are both on the verge - as individuals - of claiming a historic solo achievement. The twin brothers could each become the first player since John McEnroe in 1983 to hold the No. 1 Stanford ATP Doubles Ranking for an entire calendar year. Bob and Mike are tied for No. 1 with 6,175 points, almost 1,000 points clear of No. 3 Max Mirnyi (5205).
Bob and Mike, who have held the No. 1 ranking since November 7 last year, are resting in Paris this week ahead of the final tournament of the regular ATP season, the BNP Paribas Masters. The Bryans will be the top seeds at the tournament, which begins Monday.
"It would be a cool accomplishment because it doesn't happen too often, but to be honest our priority is to finish as the No. 1 team for the third time in four years and to win Tennis Masters Cup," Mike said. "You always want to finish the year strong and last year it was a bittersweet feeling because we finished No. 1 but our last match of the year was a loss. We remember how great it was in 2003 finishing the year No. 1 and winning the Masters Cup in Houston, so right now our focus is on winning Paris next week and then trying to peak in Shanghai."
The Bryans last week strengthened their hold on top spot in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race by winning the Madrid Masters in their first tournament since their shock third-round loss at the US Open. "We came into Madrid super sharp and mentally and physically fresh," Mike said. "We'd just had three weeks off and had a chance to put down the racquets and spend some time in Tampa, where we've just bought a house."
In addition to tearing up the court in Madrid, the Bryans also stood out by wearing their names on the back of their shirts. While some players have experimented on a very limited basis, the Bryans are the first doubles team to have their names put on their shirts by a manufacturer.
"Adidas wanted to do it for us and I think it looks sharp up there," Mike said. "Last week in Spain I'm sure there were a lot of people who didn't know who Mike and Bob Bryan were, but this way fans know straight away who the player is and it will stick in their heads. And for us it's particularly good because with B. Bryan and M. Bryan on our shirts the fans won't have to ask who is the lefty and who is the righty. More fans have been asking after our shirts and asking us to sign them. We've gotta be careful we don't run out. I think you'll find a lot more players wearing their names in the future."