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Tennis Twins • Bryan Brothers Turning Back The Clock, On Course For Another Major Title And Number 1 ATP World Ranking

Bob (L) and Mike Bryan of the US kiss their trophy after winning their men’s doubles final against Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia at the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 30 January 2010. EPA/JULIAN ABRAM WAINWRIGHT



By Ricky Dimon


With their title at last week’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Bob and Mike Bryan have now triumphed at consecutive Masters 1000 tournaments and have reached the final in three straight.


That’s nothing new for the Bryan brothers, of course. But by their more recent standards, it is nothing short of an amazing resurgence.


Prior to their success in Miami, the Bryans had not hoisted a Masters trophy since the 2016 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. They had not gone back-to-back at the Masters 1000 level since doing the same double in Miami and Monte-Carlo in 2015. And they had not advanced to finals of three straight Masters events since winning Cincinnati, Shanghai, and Paris back-to-back-to-back in 2014.


It’s safe to say the Bryans are struggling no more. Not at all. They are back.


Their 2018 surge also features a semifinal performance at the Australian Open and runner-up finishes in Indian Wells and Acapulco. They are now ranked third in the world among doubles teams after sliding to eighth at one point last year, and they are second in the 2018 race to London–trailing only Australian Open champs Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic. It was none other than Marach and Pavic whom Bob and Mike just beat 7-6(5), 6-3 in last weekend’s Monte-Carlo final.


“Congratulations on a great tournament to the Bryans,” Pavic told the 39-year-old twins while speaking at the trophy ceremony. “I don’t know how you keep winning.”


“Great job to Oliver and Mate this week; it’s been a great start to the season for you,” Mike commented. “Mate, I think you’re 24 and it’s your first appearance in Monte-Carlo. We’ve been playing here 20 years and we’re turning 40 next week, so you have plenty of chances to win the title here.”


“Thank you to Prince Albert in the stands there,” Bob added. “He gave me a lucky coin on the first day of the tournament and he told me to keep it in my bag. It’s been good luck, so I will keep it in my bag for the rest of the year.”


As good as the Bryan brothers have been this year, they could still use some luck. Still left on the table is an elusive 17th major title and a potential return trip to the No. 1 ranking. The former Stanford standouts have not captured a slam title since the 2014 U.S. Open, going 0-3 in finals during this drought (one runner-up in each of the past three seasons). They last held the top ranking spot in the fall of 2015, but regaining that distinction seems like a near certainty. Bob and Mike are 1,300 points behind Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, who will soon have title-winning points to defend in Madrid and–most importantly–Wimbledon. Bob and Mike, on the other hand, fell in round two of both the French Open and Wimbledon in 2017 and have nothing more than semifinal points to defend at any of the remaining Masters events this season. Marach and Pavic, who are less than 300 points ahead of the Bryan brothers, have runner-up points to defend at Wimbledon.


So what’s the reason for the relatively sudden turnaround?


One, they are back in a happy place and focusing on tennis for what is undoubtedly the stretch run of their illustrious career. With Bob having a young daughter and Mike going through a breakup with wife Lucille Williams, they were clearly out of tennis shape in 2016. Now Mike has completed his divorce, is dating model Nadia Murgasova, and the twins are back in business in just about every way. Two, their hard work under new coach Dave Marshall has paid instant dividends. Marshall, a former Delaware State University coach who owns a tennis and fitness club in Delaware, joined the Bryans’ team last spring.


“Dave Marshall has turned our game around,” Mike praised following the recent title in Miami.


That may be true, but the Bryan brothers have turned their own games around. Now all that’s missing is major title No.17. And if that comes, the No. 1 ranking will undoubtedly come with it.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


Editors Note: The Boys took this week off Bobs hip is sore. But Mike what’s with skiing ? Man that was a foolish risk… At any stage in a tennis career. But now ? Be nice to your old bodies. In a week we aren’t sure we can still call you boys. You are hitting 40! Some of the team here at 10sBalls first met you in 1984 during the college tennis and you guys were using all of the UCLA tennis stadium as your personal gym. Guys be smart with the little bit of tred left on your tires. (LJ)

• BNP Fun • Sitting near the Bryans family box (player guest seats) and Listening to Michaella and little Bobby yelling come on daddy. Come on Uncle Mikey.

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