Whatever happens for the Bryan brothers at the season-ending championships in London, they will finish the year as the number one doubles team for a record eighth time (and for the fourth season in succession). But that doesn't necessarily mean they will be looking relaxed when they arrive on the Greenwich Peninsula in early November.
They are too ambitious to be content or complacent - they haven't won the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for three years, having lost in the semi-finals for the past couple of seasons. And - this is no small matter - the confirmation that they will end another year at the top of the rankings means that they now have more time to think about Mike's wedding next month. That's probably going to make Mike more nervous. And it's going to make Bob nervous too, as he has a best man's speech to give.
"It's a great feeling to know that we've already guaranteed the top spot once the season ends," Mike told atpworldtour.com. "This is always a big goal for us, so achieving it might allow me to focus a little more attention towards getting married. Whether that's good or bad for my nerves, I'm not sure. What I do know is that I've already started to get excited about the big day.
The wedding preparations have been full steam ahead. My fiancee is an event planner so she takes care of most of the details, but I did participate in our menu tasting, which was a blast." Bob said of his duties as best man: "The speech will probably be a bit nerve-wracking, but since he delivered a decent one on my wedding day, I'll have to give his a full effort."
These identical twins from California have never given anything less than full effort on the tennis court. This has been an astonishing year for the Bryans. Winning the Olympic doubles title at the All England Club made them only the second men's team in history to achieve the career golden slam, after the Australian pairing of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge (Venus and Serena Williams have a career golden slam in women's doubles).
Victory at the US Open gave them their twelfth Grand Slam title, which was one more than The Woodies, and a record for the modern era. They have 82 titles together, another modern-era record, and given that they want to play on to the 2016 Olympics, and possibly beyond, reaching triple figures is not inconceivable.
This is the tenth successive year that they have qualified for the year-end finale. "We will look back on 2012 with a lot of fond memories," Mike said.
"Winning the Olympics and breaking The Woodies' record at the US Open were obviously the highlights, but finishing the year on top of the team race shows that our season as a whole was very successful and consistent. Our focus will now shift to performing our best at the ATP World Tour Finals and finishing the year strongly."
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."View all