24 Feb Bryan Brothers Win 117th Title, Hoist Delray Trophy for Fifth Time
By STEVE DORSEY
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – As the winningest doubles tandem in ATP Tour history, the Bryan brothers have a boatload of trophies, but what they accomplished at the Delray Beach Open this week certainly ranks among their fondest memories.
Bob and Mike Bryan hoisted an ATP championship trophy for a record 117th time Sunday afternoon at the Delray Beach Stadium and Tennis Center after holding off a strong challenge from another brothers team, Ken and Neal Skupski of Great Britain. The Bryans’ 7-6(5), 6-4 win gives them their fifth title in seven finals appearances in Delray Beach and their first this year since the return of Bob from hip replacement surgery he had last summer.
“We’re very, very pleased with how this one’s gone,” Bob Bryan said. “Expections, I think for me have been a little lower than they have in the past. We’ve just been trying to have fun and enjoy our time together and it’s actually resulted in some really good play. To win here now in my home tournament and to have my family here to take it in with me is extra special.”
The match between the No. 1 Bryans and the No. 2 seed Skupskis was the first ATP doubles final featuring two brothers teams since 1977. The biggest statistical discrepancy was with serving. They Bryan twins delivered 12 aces and no double faults, compared to seven aces and seven double faults for the Skupski brothers.
The Bryans led 5-4 in the second set with Mike on serve when the Skupskis took the first two points of the game. The Bryans then reeled off four straight points, with Bob appropriately delivering the final winning point.
“I was truthfully a little extra nervous (serving for match),” Mike Bryan said. “To get down love-30 and dig deep and win four points in a row, that was really cool. And to just get Bob across the line again and holding up a trophy.”
Bob Bryan said that he’s just grateful to be playing competitive tennis again. So to capture another tournament title at 40 years old is nothing short of remarkable. A couple of months ago he said he wasn’t even able to crouch down at the net when Mike was serving.
“A couple months ago I truly didn’t know if the injury was going to hold up in a professional match,” Bob said. “I really hadn’t had a practice session in December where it didn’t fatigue out or get stiff. (It’s) progressed really well. Who knows how great it’s going to get, but it feels like it’s still getting better.”
Bob said he also was inspired watching his brother play doubles with Jack Sock – they won Wimbledon, the U. S. Open and the Nitto ATP finals — during his absence and that as long as the hip doesn’t bother him, he and his twin have no timetable on when they will call it quits.
“We never thought we were going to be playing at 40 either,” Bob said. “When we won a gold medal at the Olympics in London I wondered, geez, is this it, and here we are seven years later.”
Mike nodded his head in agreement.
“We don’t want to stop here,” he said. “We want to keep rolling and hold up bigger (trophies), hopefully a Masters series in the near future and then a GS (grand slam).”
Don’t put it past them to accomplish those feats either.