Interview with the Bryan Brothers
Identical twins Mike and Bob Bryan are the world’s top men’s doubles pairing and members of the San Diego Aviators, a team tennis concept bringing some major star power to town this summer
This year’s 14-game Mylan World Team Tennis season includes seven home games at Valley View Casino Center. What can tennis fans expect at these matches?
Bob: It has mens’ and womens’ singles and doubles, and mixed doubles sets. It has everything over the course of about two and a half hours.
What’s the biggest difference between a team match and a tournament match?
Bob: It’s fast-paced. Kids get to talk to the players. Teammates sit on the sidelines cheering. There’s music and an announcer. It’s a cross between a basketball game and a party.
The July 7 home opener brings top singles player Andy Roddick of the Austin Aces to San Diego. What’s it like to play that guy?
Bob: Roddick has got the biggest serve maybe in the history of tennis. It’s never easy. But he’s a funny guy, and you’ll see more smiles [than in the regular season] during the match.
You’ve been ranked the number one mens’ doubles team for nine of the past 10 years. Is your edge that one of you is left-handed (Mike) and the other is right-handed (Bob)?
Bob: The lefty/righty combination is definitely an edge on the doubles court. It’s harder for the returner to look at different servers.
Does the identical twin thing help?
Bob: Yes. I can read a situation and see the look on his face and I know every shot he can hit and when he’s gonna hit it, and where. The communication we have, there’s nothing like it.
At 36, having won Olympic gold medals and all the Grand Slam events, what goals are left?
Mike: We want to be ranked number one every season. But the next big goal on the horizon is to win 100 titles. We’re at 96 right now.
Tell us about the chest bump.
Bob: We saw the Jensen brothers do it. They won the French Open in 1993. We practiced it when we were playing at Stanford. People seemed to like it. They called it The Bryan Bump. We fine-tuned it, and we took it on the Tour.
You went to high school in Oxnard, so you’re SoCal guys. What’s your impression of SD?
Mike: It’s one of the best cities in the country. Our grandparents and mom lived in San Diego. We came down to La Costa and watched the U.S. tennis team play Mexico when we were 10. We’d come down and play at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
In SD, we love our tacos. Have you found gluten-free fish tacos anywhere?
Bob: Yes, we’re gluten-free. [laughs] We’ll be on the lookout for fish tacos.