Mike and Bob Bryan have one more Olympic Games left in them at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and then they plan to finally stop playing. And maybe relax.
The Bryan brothers have little left to accomplish on the tennis court. They’ve won 12 Grand Slam titles, finished No. 1 for eight of the past 10 years, and competed in three Olympic Games, winning gold last year in London.
But the chance to defend that gold will keep them in the sport for three more years.
”I think that’s where we see the finish line. We’ll be 38. We’d like to maybe go out at that spot,” Mike Bryan said. ”And then we’ll sail off into the sunset.”
”Maybe just stay in Rio for the rest of our lives,” Bob chimed in. ”Check into a motel on the beach and drink some margaritas.”
The Bryans stayed on track for a possible 13th Grand Slam doubles title by beating Daniele Bracciali and Lukas Dlouhy 6-3, 7-5 Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open.
They next face the Italian team of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini for a chance to reach their fifth straight Australian Open final.
”It’s still fun. We create goals and new challenges each time we step out of the house in January,” Mike Bryan says. ”The goal is to finish No. 1. That’s it. That’s really what we play for.”
THE PAIN GAME: Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova sports a tattoo on her right bicep reading, ”Pain doesn’t kill me, I kill the pain.”
A frightening moment during her Australian Open quarterfinal against No. 1 Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday put that maxim to the test.
Serving in the first game of the second set, Kuznetsova landed awkwardly after a fault, stumbled forward and nearly fell on the court.
She played through the pain, but never recovered in the match, winning only one more game in the 7-5, 6-1 loss.
Kuznetsova later said she thought she had reinjured the right knee that had kept her off the tour for six months last year. It was the first major layoff of her career – ending her run of 40 straight Grand Slam appearances – and she didn’t want to have another.
”I was really scared because I almost broke it again,” said the Russian, whose ranking has slipped to 75th. ”My knee went backward, the same way, exactly. It was like millimeters, very close, so I (thought) I broke it again the same way I did.”
Even though she lost, the 27-year-old Kuznetsova never imagined being back in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam so soon after the injury. The time off definitely did her some good – she feels refreshed and can see playing for several more years.
”I never had a thought of stopping tennis,” she said. ”I always loved (the sport), but I wanted to have this desire to bring me back. This is what happened.”
REDFOO’S RED SHIRT: After Redfoo cheered her on, Victoria Azarenka helped her rap star friend promote his latest single.
Redfoo, the LMFAO frontman, sat in Azarenka’s box during her quarterfinal win over Svetlana Kuznetsova, clapping and yelling ”Come on Vika!” He wore a red sleeveless T-shirt that read ”Keep Calm and Bring Out the Bottles.”
During the on-court interview after the match, Azarenka was asked if the message on Redfoo’s shirt had helped her keep calm.
”I was looking more at the part that says, `Bring out the bottles,”’ Azarenka joked.
Then she clarified: ”It’s his new single which is absolutely great and you all should buy it on iTunes,” she said.
Azarenka faces Sloane Stephens in the next round after the American teenager beat 15-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in their quarterfinal.
Associated Press writer Jocelyn Gecker contributed to this report.