The Bryan brothers got big air at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Yes, there was a little more room than usual between their feet and the ground for their latest version of the “Bryan Bump” – the famed chest bump they use to celebrate their victories – because of what that victory meant.
Their 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo wrapped up the Bryan Slam, making the 35-year-old identical twins from California the first men’s doubles team in the history of Open-era tennis to hold all four major titles at the same time.
“It just feels like we’re adding nuts and whipped cream and cherries to our great career,” Bob Bryan said. “We said that a few years ago: ‘If we retire today, we feel like we’ve done it all. Let’s go have some fun and add to whatever this is.’”
They now have 15 Grand Slam tournament victories, improving on the record they broke at the Australian Open when they surpassed John Newcombe and Tony Roche as the most successful men’s pairing of all time.
It’s their third Wimbledon title and the victory made the Bryans the first team to hold all the Slams along with an Olympic gold medal.
If they win the US Open in September, they’ll join Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman as the second men’s team to complete a calendar Grand Slam. The Aussie duo did it in 1951, 17 years before the Open era began, and ended up winning seven titles in a row before the streak was snapped at the 1952 US Open.
“I didn’t think anything could feel as sweet as the gold medal, but this one just feels like there’s a cap, a lid, or a ribbon around our career,” Mike Bryan said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s something we never dreamed of, to try to win four in a row. It’s too hard to dominate in doubles. Maybe we had a little luck involved along the way. We just took them one at a time. It just added up.”
Taking Centre Court against a new doubles pairing of the Croatian Dodig and the Brazilian Melo, the top-seeded Bryan brothers came out shaky. Lowlighted by a whiff on a volley attempt by Mike, they fell behind 5-0 on their way to losing the first set.
But they got a pair of breaks in the second to even things up, then got a break apiece in the next two sets for the win. The final one came when Mike Bryan, the right-hander, hit a forehand down the middle for a clean winner, then high-stepped it off the court to the sideline for one, final change of ends.
His brother served out the match and after match point – a 129mph ace – the brothers jumped as high as they can remember while performing their chest bump.
It’s a move they borrowed from the Jensen brothers – the popular 1993 French Open champions who, like the Bryans, had their own rock band and liked to play to the crowd. They Bryans started using it regularly when they played college tennis at Stanford.
They plan to keep doing it through at least 2016 at the Rio Olympics.