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What next for the all-conquering Bryan brothers?

Bob and Mike Bryan pose for a photograph after winning the 2013 Wimbledon Gentlmen's Doubles Championship.
by William Denny
Saturday 6 July 2013

Remember the date: 6th July 2013. This date marks one of the most astonishing sporting achievements of all time as American twins Bob and Mike Bryan sealed their fourth consecutive Grand Slam, coupled with an Olympic gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games – a feat that has been dubbed the ‘Golden-Bryan Slam’.

 “It's hard to even dream that we'd have the slam, all four at one time. It all started back after we won the gold. It just felt like a huge pressure was released. Went on to win the Open and had a great summer,” said Mike, the right-handed twin.

“This year we've been on an amazing year. Never had a streak like this. Especially at 35, I feel like we're hitting our peak. Yeah, I mean, when we got out there – I thought we were pretty loose before the match. Once we got out there, it kind of was sinking in, like, this is weird. We're going to go for the slam here, you know.”

Their unbelievable journey began at the 2012 London Olympics where they beat the French pair, Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, dropping just a single set throughout the entire Games.

They followed their Olympic Gold with U.S, Australian and French Open success, leaving them just one Slam away from etching their names indelibly into the history books.

The top seeds had also become the most decorated men’s doubles pair in the Open era when they secured their 13th Grand Slam at the Australian Open earlier this year.

The question that will now that they have secured their 15th Grand Slam is … what next?

With 91 tour-level titles to add to their slams, the 35-years-old have left little to accomplish and many will be wondering how long the record-breakers have left in the tennis limelight.

In the short term at least, the Bryans are on course to become the first men’s doubles team to achieve the calendar-year Grand Slam since Australians Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman in 1951, providing they can defend their crown at the US Open later this year, although it’s not something they say they are considering just yet. “Now we got to try to suit back up for the calendar slam. I don't even want to think about that,” said Mike.

The Bryans recently indicated that they would be retiring in 2016, after the Rio Olympic Games, saying the defence of their Olympic Gold would be their focal point. Unfortunately for the other players involved in men’s doubles, this means that the Bryans are still planning to play on for another three years, with even more Grand Slam heroics in their sights. “These type of records and achievements, there's a lot of 'em,” said Mike. “They're always out there. You know, this one's extra cool but there will always be something else to do.” 

But for now, according to Mike, achieving the ‘Golden-Bryan Slam’ is “probably the highest achievement” of their careers and they plan a suitable celebration to match. “When we won the Australian Open, we were on a flight four hours later back into the heat of battle.  When you win the French Open, you're over to Queen's back in the soup again,” said Mike. “This is going to be a great one to kind of just celebrate and enjoy and really let sink in what we've done.”

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