Tennis legends Bob and Mike Bryan were our special guests at the latest All Court Tennis Club event in New York, as they gave a coaching masterclass on the grass courts at The Westside Tennis Club.
The doubles dream team broke all records on the circuit during their remarkable careers and they treated All Court Tennis Club guests and members to a tennis clinic, while also giving an insight into their remarkable careers on a very special day for all in attendance.
The Bryan brothers also sat down with us for a chat about all things tennis, as they opened up on their life after retirement and so much more.
Tell us about your day at the All Court Tennis Club event?
Bob: We spent a couple of hours on the grass courts hitting with some people and showing them how to play doubles. We did a few demonstrations and they got a chance to play against us. We were looking for high energy and that’s what we got. Grass is unique to play on. We loved our time at Wimbledon and playing at Queen’s Club and everyone is happy when they are playing on that green stuff. All Court Tennis Club is a great idea and hopefully everyone had a blast.
Mike: We still love the game and coming out here. We miss it a little, so it’s great to come out here and give a little back to a game that has given us so much. The All Court Tennis Club is a great idea and hopefully lots of tennis fans around the world are ready to get involved.
How have you adapted to life after retirement from tennis?
Bob: Retirement is defiantly weird. You do everything day in day out to keep getting better and achieve these goals in tennis and one day it just comes to a big halt. You have so much time. You have to find what you are passionate about. I think we are passionate about staying in tennis, doing some work for the Tennis Channel, so we will be staying in the sport we love.
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Do you feel we need to do more to promote the doubles game?
Mike: Doubles is strong at the moment. There are a lot of great teams and it’s well appreciated in the UK, the States and Australia, where tennis has that long history. The more these guys get on TV, the more these players will become household names and more people will want to watch them. Tennis fans love doubles. 90 per-cent of them play doubles at club level, so it’s just about getting the casual sports fan to know these guys. The Tennis Channel are doing a good job streaming most of the finals and it would be great if the partners stay together for a long time and people can start to recognise the pairings. Maybe we need to push for that a little more.
How excited were you to see Nick Kyrgios win the Australian Open doubles title in January and is he good for the game?
Bob – We were excited to see him break through on the doubles court. He is so talented. He had those stadiums rocking in Australia. You had fans come in, they weren’t tennis fans. These were kids off the street, skateboarders, real urban culture coming in to root for this guy. He is a showman. He understands entertainment and they were amped up. It was a great for doubles to have a guy like that breaking through. I think he is good for the sport. As a parent, sometimes you question his decisions out there. Some of the things he says and sometimes you don’t want to be front row with your kids, but everyone is talking about him. He is packing stadiums, tournament directors want him selling tickets. He just gets it. He gets the entertainment and kids just love him. My kid is trying the underarm serve and the through the leg shots. He’s interesting, so I think that is only going to attract more people to his sport.
Should more top singles players consider playing doubles as well?
Mike – I think if the singles players actually played more doubles, they would get better. But it is so physical to play a five-set singles and then have to come back and have a doubles match the next day. If they got rid of the three out of five sets in Grand Slams, you’d see more of the singles guys playing, but it does add to their game. It’s helped Kyrgios’s confidence because he is volleying better and playing even better. That gave him just a shot in the arm. He was struggling, but that made him happy. He was smiling on a tennis court and we have not seen that for a long time.
You were inside Arthur Ashe Stadium court as Serena Williams won her first match at the 2022 US Open. Can you describe the atmosphere?
Mike: They set an attendance record, 29,000 in that place and they were going bonkers from the first point. The energy was like a World Series or a Super Bowl kind of atmosphere. So many celebrities in the house and it was just cool to be a part of it. She’s got that fighting spirit. Like she said in her interview, she never gives up and we’ve seen that throughout her whole career. She can be down match points and turn it around any time. She’s an entertainer and we’ll miss that. There will be a little hole in tennis for a while.
Bob: She has got to be one of the greatest competitors to ever play the game. She hates to lose. Every time she steps out there she finds that extra gear. It was the loudest match I’ve ever seen and she used the energy from the crowd. She rose to the occasion. She has not been playing well, but I thought for a set and a half she played great.
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