Americans Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond put semi-final disappointment in the men’s and women’s doubles respectively behind them by teaming up to claim mixed doubles glory and bring down the curtain on Wimbledon 2012.
The No.2 seeds beat Leander Paes and Elena Vesnina 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 and then begged to be picked as one of two mixed doubles pairings for the US Olympic team. The American team has an embarrassment of riches with Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Liezel Huber, Bob Bryan, John Isner and Andy Roddick also in the squad from which mixed teams will be decided.
“I can't speak for Bob, I can't speak for Serena, I can't speak for anybody,” Raymond said. “But, on paper you kind of hope with the powers that be, if you're No.1 in the world, you’re going to get a chance to play in the Olympics. But I've been there before and I know that doesn't always happen.
“As far as Mike and I are concerned we put our best foot forward. There's not much more we could do than come away with a Wimbledon title.”
Bryan had lost with twin brother Bob to eventual men’s doubles winners Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen, while Raymond and partner Liezel Huber lost to Serena and Venus Williams, so victory felt all the more sweeter.
It was Bryan’s first mixed doubles crown at SW19 and Raymond’s second, after ironically she claimed the title with Paes back in 1999. But for Vesnina it was yet more disappointment after her 2010 Ladies’ Doubles Final defeat with Vera Zvonareva and her loss with Mahesh Bhupathi to Jurgen Melzer and Iveta Benesova in last year’s mixed event.
Bryan and Raymond were always the superior pairing despite a late second-set wobble that handed Paes and Vesnina a rare piece of momentum. Bryan was serving for the match at 5-4 when the pair were broken and they had to regroup to get an early break in the final set.
Under the Centre Court roof Paes lost his serve in the fifth game of the match with a couple of unforced errors from his partner, and Raymond and Bryan’s superior serving closed out the first.
Vesnina lost her serve early in the second set, going long at break point, and it seemed as if the Americans would wrap things up in straight sets. But wily Paes and talented Russian Vesnina came storming back winning four games on the spin.
Indian veteran Paes then lost his serve in the opening game of the final set but Raymond was swiftly broken back. The crucial break came in the seventh game as Vesnina was broken and this time Bryan confidently served out to claim a deserved title.
“It was a blast playing with Lisa all week,” Bryan said. “Obviously the match was up and down. We could have closed it out there in straights.
“Unfortunately, I got broken. We had match points. She's pretty resilient. We fought through the adversity. She kept raising her game and kind of carried me through the finish.
“Mike just brings the best out in me,” added Raymond after the pair had collected a third Grand Slam title together. “Our personalities get along well. I have so much faith in his return, in his serve, his volleys. And we're friends. It's great to win another title with him.”