Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States made their way into tennis record books once again as they became the maiden doubles team to win 1,000 matches. The duo, who are playing at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna this week, reached the milestone after their quarter-final win against the Uruguayan-Serbian team of Pablo Cuevas and Viktor Troicki on Friday. Seeded second, the Americans won 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 and will face the fourth-seeded Polish-Brazilian team of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo in the semi-final.
The Bryans’s milestone comes two years after they became the first doubles team to win 100 career titles, at the 2014 US Open. Most importantly, it has come in a year where their performance was mediocre by their established standards. The brothers ended a 11-year association with their coach David MacPherson a few months ago. They also went title-less in the four majors and failed to make an impact in the Rio Games earlier in August. Moreover, their lapses had started prompting the question about whether they had started to spiral into a decline.
“We’re happy to get 1,000 in Vienna,” said Mike Bryan. “This is going to be a special city for us until we die. This is going to be very memorable forever for us,” he added. His twin, Bob, echoed the sentiment, stating, “We’ve been looking at this number 1,000 for a couple of years and it’s been a big goal of ours, to do it tonight in Vienna in front of all of you guys is amazing. We really appreciate the support, we really appreciate you guys staying for the doubles and giving us some love, and like Mike said this city will always have a place in our heart.”
In September, the siblings qualified for the eight-team elite World Tour Finals in London, to be played from November 13-20. They were the second team to qualify after the top-ranked French team of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
The Bryans’s first ATP match win was in the first round of the Atlanta Open in 1996, against fellow Americans Mark Keil and Dave Randall. They turned pro in 1998 and in their 16-year career have won 113 doubles titles. The previous best was 61 titles won by Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, who were popularly known as the Woodies.
The 38-year-olds are not only identical twins, but also mirror twins where Bob, the younger by two minutes, is left-handed and Mike is right-handed. Among active players, the two currently hold the record for most number of Grand Slams won, with 16 in men’s doubles. Additionally, Bob Bryan has won seven mixed doubles titles, while Mike Bryan has won four.