At age 34, the Bryan brothers posed with the trophy with Bob’s infant daughter and chatted about Mike’s upcoming wedding.
They’ve now set the Open-era Grand Slam title record, but the pair doesn’t plan to stop adding to that total anytime soon.
The American twins won the U.S. Open men’s doubles final in straight sets Friday for a 12th Grand Slam championship. They had been tied with Australian greats Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde for the most in the Open era, which started in 1968.
”We looked up to the Woodies, and to steal all their records is unbelievable because we idolize those guys,” Mike said. ”They’re one of the reasons we play doubles.”
The Bryans, seeded No. 2, beat Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4 without facing a break point.
In the third round, they were two points from losing the match in a second-set tiebreaker when Bob pulled off a between-the-legs trick shot – and they went on to win in three sets. After needing two tiebreakers in the quarterfinals to move on, the Bryans won their last two matches with little hassle.
Last month, they achieved their biggest goal of 2012 by winning their first Olympic gold medals at the London Games.
”It did take pressure off,” Mike said. ”We talked about it before each match. We’re like, `Let’s swing free. We have the gold.’ We came into this probably a little fatigued and just running on adrenaline from the Olympics. We could see the finish line.”
Bob was passing around his medal after Friday’s match, convinced it’s a good luck charm. Golfer Sergio Garcia wore it during the tennis tournament in Cincinnati last month, then promptly posted his first PGA Tour victory in four years.
The brothers plan to stick around long enough to defend their title in Rio in 2016. That leaves plenty of opportunities to pad their Grand Slam record.
”Hopefully we can snag a couple a year, one or two,” Mike said. ”We got one this year. You do the math.”
They had been stuck on 11 since 2011 Wimbledon, losing to Paes and Stepanek in this year’s Australian Open final.
”We had a rough 12 months,” Bob said. ”We took a lot of lumps, but now that’s all forgotten. It’s sweeter than ever.”
The Bryans also tied the Open-era record with their fourth U.S. Open championship, matching Bob Lutz and Stan Smith. They had been in danger of finishing a year without a major title for the first time since `04.
”Still would have been a good year because we have the Olympics,” Mike said. ”But we wanted to keep the streak alive of eight years with a Slam.”
Next on the list of goals: the Davis Cup match against Spain.
Paes, from India, and Stepanek, from the Czech Republic, were seeded fifth. They were under pressure on their serves the entire match and saved 10 of 12 break points, but one break in each set was plenty for the Bryans. The brothers combined to get in 79 percent of their first serves, and even when they didn’t, they won 73 percent of points on their second serves.
Mike isn’t the sentimental type, insisting he hasn’t cried since high school – he thought the Olympic medal ceremony might bring the tears but even that failed to work. So he and Bob weren’t going to offer too many deep thoughts about this latest milestone.
At least one member of the family is relishing it, though.
”My dad gets a real kick out of the records,” Bob said. ”He has a spreadsheet on his computer. I’m sure he’s updating it right now.”