Bryan Twins on Verge of Golden Slam – By Matt Cronin

Written by: on 2nd July 2013
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Men Doubles Semi Finals
Bryan Twins on Verge of Golden Slam - By Matt Cronin

epa02804972 US tennis players Bob Bryan (L) and Mike Bryan (R) in action during their semi final doubles match against Michael Llodra of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia for the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 01 July 2011. EPA/NEIL MUNNS  |

WIMBLEDON – Statistically, Bob and Mike Bryan have established themselves as the best doubles team ever with 14 Grand Slam titles, the most overall titles with 90, and the most years finishing No. 1 with eight.

But this week at Wimbledon the 35-year-olds are looking to pull off something never achieved by a doubles team, winning a non calendar year “Golden Slam”, meaning holding four consecutive major titles as well as the 2012 Olympic gold medal.

“We’ve had a lot of these amazing-type records that we’ve had the opportunity to achieve over the last few years,” Mike Bryan said. “But there’s a couple extra things that go with it this time which would make it pretty awesome.”

The top seeded twins have reached the semifinals of Wimbledon where they will face 14th seeds Rohann Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Last month at Roland Garros when they won their second French title, they became the first team in history to win all four Grand Slams at least twice. Due to their overall brilliance and consistency, plus the fact that many of the talented veteran doubles players are consistently switching partners, they are also first team to appear at Wimbledon with the first two Slam titles of the year in their racket bags in the past 46 years. If they win the title, they will be on course to win the calendar year Grand Slam, which has only been won by one doubles team, the famous Australian duo of Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman, who did it in 1951.

“I think we’re hitting our peak right now,” Mike Bryan said. “Never had these kind of results. Never been this dominant.”

Here is how a ‘Bryans Golden Slam’ might stack up against the overall accomplishments of some other duos.

Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver

The greatest women’s doubles team ever won 21 Grand Slams overall, and won eight consecutive majors beginning at 1983 Wimbledon that included the calendar year Grand Slam in 1984. That run was part of a record 109-match winning streak between 1983 and 1985. As good as the Bryans have been, they haven’t been able to put together those kind of numbers – yet.

Serena And Venus Williams

For all of their accomplishments in singles, the Williams sisters have quietly put up some extremely impressive numbers in doubles, winning four consecutive major titles from 2009 Wimbledon to the 2010 French Open (the ‘Venus and Serena Slam’) and 13 majors overall. They have also won three Olympic gold medals together as a team. One of those golds, at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, was accomplished just after they won 2008 Wimbledon, giving them a medal and six Slam titles in between July of 2008 and June of 2010.

John Newcombe and Tony Roche

The righty and left duo, won 12 Grand Slam men’s doubles together, including every major crown in 1967 save for the French Open. Plus, both were full time singles players with serve-and-volleying Newk winning seven singles majors, including two in 1967, and Roche winning a French Championships. While the Bryans have beaten some very good teams in their day, they did not consistently have to come against duss that also include standout singles players like this partnership did.

Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva

Until recently they were the second most successful women’s doubles team ever. This super creative pair won six consecutive Grad Slams titles from the 1992 French Open to 1993 Wimbledon, but were unfortunately unable to win the calendar year Grand Slam. The American by the way of Puerto Rico and the Belaussian won 14 Grand Slam titles overall together. Zvereva also reached the final of the French Open singles, while Fernandez once reached the semifinals of Wimbledon.

Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman

There was nothing simple about the legendary Aussies run through the four Slams. They bested the cagey teams of US team of Gardnar Mulloy and Dick Savitt in tough four setter at the French Championships, then took down multiple Grand Slam singles winner Jaroslav Drobny and Eric Sturgess in five sets at Wimbledon; bested two tough Aussies in Don Candy and Mervyn Rose in four sets at the US Championships and then put the cherry on the cake at home in Australia (the tournament was then tennis year end Grand Slam) when they overcame another top team in John Bromwich and Adrian Quist in five sets.

Given that Sedgman was the world’s best singles player at the time (he won six Grand Slam singles title in between 1949-1952, including the 1951 US Open) it was remarkable feat. As good as the Bryans are, neither plays singles anymore.

 

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