Mike Bryan, without his Twin, Wins Men’s Doubles at Wimbledon
As is his habit, Mike Bryan walked into a news conference at Wimbledon on Saturday and identified himself to the stenographer, so he could be distinguished from his partner.
This time, however, it was in jest. Bryan had just won the men’s doubles title with Jack Sock, and it was his first major championship in that event with a partner other than his identical twin, Bob.
Bryan and Sock defeated Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus, 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3, 5-7, 7-5. It was Bryan’s 17th Grand Slam men’s doubles title, and his first since the 2014 United States Open.
At 17, Mike Bryan now sits in a tie with John Newcombe for most Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles.
Bob Bryan, who has been sidelined since May with a hip injury, is one behind.
“He can have mine,” Sock said. “I don’t like that.”
There will be further asymmetry on Monday, when Mike Bryan will leap up from No. 8 to No. 1 in the world doubles ranking, reclaiming the top spot for the first time since October 2015. For most of their careers, the Bryans, 40, have been tied in the rankings.
Mike dedicated the title to Bob, saying it was “a weird feeling” to win without him.
“He’s back at home busting his butt to get back out on tour,” Mike said. “He wants to come back. He’s just as motivated as anyone to be back. He wants to finish strong.”
After a first-round loss at the French Open with Sam Querrey, Mike had rued playing without Bob, and spoke as if he might have just played his last match, saying farewell to reporters. He said the opportunity to play Wimbledon for what could be his last time kept him going.
“Just wanted one more shot at it,” Mike said. “Bob said, ‘Go for it.’ I want to stay sharp just in case he comes back. An opportunity to play with Jack, one of the best doubles players in the world. It’s definitely a shot at a title when you suit up with Jack Sock. That was why I came over here. It all worked out.”
Bob’s prognosis remains unclear. Mike said his brother had watched the first set of the final while rehabbing in a pool. He had stem cell treatments for his injury, but his recovery has not been promising thus far.
“It hasn’t been a huge success,” Mike said. “So, yeah, it’s still iffy. I’ll keep Jack on speed dial.”
Doubles has not been Sock’s primary focus, but he has succeeded the most there in recent years. With Vasek Pospisil, he beat the Bryans to win Wimbledon in 2014. He won mixed doubles gold and men’s doubles bronze at the 2016 Olympics. This year, Sock, 25, has won doubles titles with four partners, including at the BNP Paribas Open in Wells, Calif., with John Isner. They beat the Bryans in the final.
But in singles, Sock, who finished last year in the top 10, has posted a 5-14 record, which has him on pace to fall out of the top 100 if he can’t revitalize his season. He said he hoped the Wimbledon win would prove a boost.
“Hopefully this will give me some confidence,” he said, “get those demons out of my head.”