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Friday, 27 January 2017 10:44 AM GMT
Bryans aiming for history in Australia
In a tournament of throwbacks, the Bryan brothers are doing their bit to repeat past successes.. READ MORE

In the history of doubles, no pair has won more than Bob and Mike Bryan, the American twins who have dominated the sport for well over a decade.

Fourteen years after they won their first Grand Slam title together, at the French Open in 2003, the 38-year-old Bryans are back in the final, chasing their seventh Australian Open title, taking on Australian John Peers and Henri Kontinen of Finland on Saturday.

Victory would also take the Bryans on to 17 grand Slam Titles, breaking the record mark they currently share with Australian Todd Woodbridge.

“Todd’s one of our idols, we’ve really looked up to him, he’s done so much for doubles,” Mike Bryan said. “We really admire everything he’s done in the sport. We’re happy to be tied with him, if we could go one step further that would be an amazing achievement.” 

At the age of 38, and with their 39th birthdays to come in April, the pair, who have won 112 titles together and won more than 1000 Tour matches, know that they might not get too many more chances to add to their grand slam tally.

That was partly why they announced this week that they will no longer be playing Davis Cup, to allow the younger Americans to stake their claim but also to extend their careers at the top.

And after a 2016 that by their own standards was a disappointment, despite reaching another Grand Slam final at the French Open, they have been sharp in Melbourne.

“Davis Cup did a lot to propel ourselves to where we got to…but to have a little more maybe in the tank come some of these majors is a positive,” Bob Bryan said.

“We’re going to probably play a little smarter schedule than we have in the past couple of years and maybe give ourselves a couple of opportunities to have a little juice when it counts at the big ones.”

Mike Bryan said they felt fresh coming off a good rest in the off-season.

“We’re hungry and our bodies are feeling sprightly,” he said. “We’re eager…and I feel like we have that little twinkle back in our eye that one us a point or two a match, which is a big deal.

“Now we just have a little bit more bounce, I feel like when we’re down 0-30 we’re stepping up to the line, not looking for something to go wrong but looking for things to go our way. That’s a big difference.”

As the likes of Leander Paes and Daniel Nestor have shown, doubles players can play at the top well into their forties but with Bob married with three young children and Mike also married, they are edging closer to the end of their careers.

“If our career was a book this would be the kind of final chapter or two,” Mike Bryan said. “We kind of see the finish line, this is one of the last times we can play in Australia so that’s making us a little extra eager to play some good tennis.

Bob Bryan said Kontinen and Peers will present a formidable challenge but agreed with his brother.

“When you can see the finish line, you can run a little faster and harder,” he said. “When you can’t see it and it’s a little ambiguous, you might want to pace yourself a little bit but right now we’re sprinting.”

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