BRYAN BROTHERS DEFEND THEIR TITLE FOR 6TH MIAMI OPEN CROWN
By Tucker Verdi
Miami Gardens, FL — Bob and Mike Bryan like to do things in pairs. They were born as a pair on April 29, 1978, they have played tennis as a pair for over 30 years, they have a pair of Career Grand Slams — having won each major at least twice, and now they have another pair of back-to-back titles after winning the men’s doubles championship at the 2019 Miami Open presented by Itaú.
The “Bryan Bros” as they have become known on tour picked up Miami Open titles in 2007 2008 and 2014 2015. So when 2018 came around and they won a fifth title, history suggested that they would be right back in the winner’s circle the next year. History did not account for the journey between then and now, however, and what a journey it has been.
Bob and Mike won their first tennis match together when they were six, and last May they clinched a spot in the final of the Madrid Masters by way of a straight sets win in the semis. That win, with all that is known now, could have been their last. The Bryans retired during the final the next day — the first time they had ever done that — due to Bob’s hip injury.
That injury would lead to a hip replacement for the 40-year-old lefty Bob. To say that a repeat title run in Miami was in doubt is understating the severity of his injury — playing on tour ever again in and of itself was in doubt.
The road to recovery was not smooth for Bob, who went through rehab while Mike picked up two more Grand Slams at Wimbledon and the US Open with new partner Jack Sock.
“This is a dream,” Bob explained following the win. “This was not possible eight months ago, so I’m stoked. I want to thank Mike for taking me back, he had a hell of a year without me.”
But there was never any doubt that if Bob could play, he would be playing right beside the brother he began playing with as a kid. When he was ready to return in December of last year, the pair began training, hoping for a return to the pinnacle of the sport where they had spent so much time.
“I was very happy just to play again,” Bob said of the journey back to tennis. “It felt like a huge goal just to get back on the court… I’m happy to come in here and win this title, this is really huge for us.”
On Saturday, they reached the pinnacle once again. With a 7-5, 7-6(8) win over Wesley Koolhof and Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Bryan Brothers lifted their sixth Miami Open title and righted a wrong by finishing out the trifecta of back-to-back wins.
“It feels good,” Mike said, his voice breaking at times. “Bob’s been on the couch for nine months and to have him back here at full strength and winning here in Miami, our hometown, and having all the fans and the family support, it’s unreal. This is a special event for us, to defend it with real hips and now a metal hip is amazing, its awesome.”
They have now won titles in Miami in 2007 2008, 2014 2015, and 2018 2019. Three for each brother, how perfect.
This one undoubtedly belongs to Bob, who battled his way back to deliver another exceptional performance for onlookers at the Miami Open.
When they won in 2018, the 39-year-olds remarked about a return in 2019, as if anyone would expect anything different than for the brother to be competing for a championship. But life with its many twists and turns can cast doubt on even the sure-fire things.
While accepting their trophy last year, the Bryan Brothers coyly said it was “possible” they would return in 2019.
Andrey Rublev, one of the finalists from last year who the Bryans had just beaten, stood behind them and shouted, “The next 10 years!” It bears repeating what comes to mind when thinking of that prospect.
Tennis fans could only be so lucky.
> Men’s Doubles Final Photo Gallery