Bryan Brothers Make their Davis Cup Debut
9/22/03

Bryan Brothers Make Stunning Davis Cup Debut

By:  Sarah Alvanipour
Just when we thought we had heard every cliché about twins used to describe Mike and Bob Bryan, the amazing doubles duo from Camarillo, Calif., amaze us and make us want to come up with more.
On Saturday, the Bryans made their Davis Cup debut, playing doubles in the third rubber of the tiebreak series in the World Group Playoffs in Bratislava, Slovakia. Bob and Mike, now a seasoned team, cruised to a straight sets win, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (5), over the last-minute paired team of Dominik Hrbaty and Karol Beck in one hour, 52 minutes.
The twins’ serves were right on, allowing them to achieve a first and second serve percentage of 71% and an incredible 100%, respectively.

Incredibly, the precision of their serves was also flawless, earning them six aces but no double faults.

Bob and Mike were able to break Hrbaty and Beck twice in the first set and once in the second, to take a two sets-to-love lead. However, there were no breaks of service by either pair in the third set, sending it to a decisive tiebreaker. The third set proved to be crucial for the Slovakians, who were in desperate need of breaking back in order to retain any chance of surviving the match, but the Bryans refused to surrender their service games and eventually went on to win the tiebreak 7-5.

The victory, of course, was of no surprise to fans. The Bryan brothers have had a stellar season, winning four titles this year, including their Grand Slam title at the French Open. As newcomers to the Davis Cup scene, the Brothers had to rely on their skill and their experience on clay to seal their win, whereas Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish were returning members from last year’s Davis
Cup team. Working to the twins’ advantage was their impressive 15-4 clay court record this season and the confidence of winning two clay-court titles, in Barcelona and at Roland Garros. Of course, a No. 1 world ranking doesn’t hurt either. Neither does the years of practice together, which have helped Mike and Bob instinctively play their shots and capitalize on the other teams’ inexperience.

The Bryans’ third rubber played a key role in the Playoffs. It would set the tone for the remainder of the tiebreak, since the series was tied at 1-1 after the first set of singles matches was completed. Whoever won the following match was going to a take a 2-1 lead and position his team for a swift victory. And that is exactly what the brothers did. By winning their match, they set up longtime friend and now Davis Cup teammate, Andy Roddick, to seal a victory for the team by winning his match against Karol Beck. Roddick, who had lost his first match against Dominik Hrbaty, redeemed himself with a straight sets win on Sunday, virtually guarantying the United States a spot in the World Group next year.

Mike and Bob have now officially become members of the No. 8 ranked U.S. Davis Cup team, and as a doubles team, that is an incredible feat in itself. Not since 1903, when Robert and Glenn Wrenn played in the Challenge round of the Davis Cup against Great Britain, have brothers competed in the tournament as a doubles team. The Bryans have also become the first set of brothers to win their Davis Cup doubles match since John and Patrick McEnroe never competed in the Davis Cup as a doubles team. 

Despite this success, the U.S. has not won the Davis Cup title since 1995, a fact that this year’s team of Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, and doubles experts Mike and Bob Bryan are attempting to change, one match at a time. And their chances look promising. 

It seems as though there is no doubt that the addition of the Bryans to the team has and will make a difference. With American sensation Andy Roddick and rising star Mardy Fish, the U.S. has increased its odds of finally regaining the title. The team may be relatively young, but perhaps enthusiasm will make up for lack of experience.

Let’s just hope the courts have the same favorable sentiment towards them.


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