Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bryans' long reign at No. 1 in doubles ends

Bob Bryan, left, and Mike Bryan, playing at Indian Wells in
March, lost their No. 1 ranking in doubles last week after
reigning for almost three years. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Even though they're seeded first in doubles in the ATP World Tour Finals that start Sunday in London, the 37-year-old Bryan twins have had a rough year.
   For the first time since 2004, they failed to win a Grand Slam men's doubles title. And for the first time since Sept. 9, 2012, neither Bob nor Mike Bryan was ranked No. 1 in doubles last week.
   Marcelo Melo, a 32-year-old Brazilian who stands 6-foot-8 (2.03 meters), supplanted the Bryans at No. 1 on Nov. 2 and stayed there this week. The Bryans had been No. 1 since Feb. 25, 2013, a reign of 143 weeks.
   "Being No. 1 in the world was always our dream, and to achieve it for the first time in 2003 was one of our proudest moments," Bob Bryan told atpworldtour.com. "It's something that nobody can ever take away from you and in many ways is more special than winning any individual tournament.
   "It always gives us great pride when we're introduced as the No. 1 players in the world. We love that feeling and will always strive to spend as much time there as possible."
   Added Mike Bryan: "Being at the top spot in the Emirates ATP rankings is an honor and a sacred spot reserved for players who sacrifice a lot to reach it. Staying there is even more difficult because you have a target on your back, and pressure and expectation shift.
   "Bob and I have always pushed each other to improve, sometimes using brutal honesty, and this has helped us maintain our high standard for so many years. Without (coach) David Macpherson, who has been an enormous positive force on and off the court, this wouldn't have been possible."
Marcelo Melo, right, playing with Ivan Dodig at Indian Wells in March, sup-
planted the Bryan twins at No. 1 in doubles last week and remains there.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Bryans played at Stanford for two years, leading the Cardinal to the NCAA team title in 1997 and 1998. Bob Bryan earned a rare Triple Crown in 1998, also winning the NCAA singles and doubles titles (with Mike).
   Macpherson, a 48-year-old Australian, coached the California Dream in their inaugural World TeamTennis season in July. The Sacramento-based team went 9-5 in the regular season and lost to the host Austin Aces in the Western Conference Championship.
   The next streak to end for the Bryans could be six seasons at year-end No. 1. They won six ATP World Tour titles, three at the Masters 1000 level, this year and qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals for the 14th straight season. The Bryans have won the crown four times, including last year.
   Today in London, the Bryans received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for their off-court philanthropy. They have raised money for dozens of beneficiaries through their charitable foundation, Bryan Bros.

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