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September 9, 2005

Mike Bryan


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. How does it feel, guys, US Open champion?

MIKE BRYAN: It feels unbelievable. You know, we didn't want to go down as one of the only teams to lose all the Slams. It's more kind of a relief. But, you know, to do it here at the US Open, I mean, it's worth giving up five in a row (smiling).

BOB BRYAN: Yeah, we almost completed the anti-Slam. That would have been a feat. So win or lose, it was gonna be amazing. You know, it feels awesome to do it in the U.S., you know. It's been -- like I said, it's been a long two and a half years, it's been a lot of heart break. We've been really consistent and we've been the No. 1 team in the world, and really beaten all the teams. We struggled just right at that last step. So it's good to get it now.

Q. Did you think you'd be dismissed as one-Slam wonders?

MIKE BRYAN: I mean, yeah, it always crosses your mind. I mean, especially last year when they were telling me that I was going to have to have surgery. I could have been like Magnus Norman, never come back from hip surgery. But, you know, we knew if we got to the finals enough times, we'd eventually crack it loose, you know. We played -- I thought we played one of our best matches of the year, maybe of our career. We went out there and just went for it and just let everything go. Didn't worry about, you know, winning or losing, stayed in the moment and it happened, which feels pretty good.

Q. Is it possible to carry a hard court victory as momentum into a clay court match?

BOB BRYAN: Definitely. We're going to be the US Open champions playing that match. We have a nice little run going, six in a row, plus I won a Huggy Bear last week, so I got like 11 matches in a row. We're going to be feeling good. I think the biggest part of it, we're going to be happy, be carefree out there, have a good practice week, not be frustrated. When we have energy and we're happy, we play our best tennis.

Q. Did you make a decision, "Let's not talk about losing three Slams in the week building up to this Grand Slam," as if it would be bad luck to even mention it?

MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, I mean, we didn't talk about it. After Wimbledon, uhm, put the sticks down for a little while and, I mean, we didn't even want to bring it up. It hurt pretty bad, you know, especially losing to those guys, who we thought, you know, would be kind of a gimme final. So we just dropped it. Just, you know, once it wore off, we started working hard and, you know, I mean, it's been a tough year. We've played well, but we lost kind of the big matches: The Davis Cup match and the three Grand Slam finals. So to win this, it's a huge one for us, especially going into Davis Cup. We know we can win that huge match and step up. So, you know, it's a good turnaround.

Q. Speaking of turnarounds, in this tournament there's been some reversals in some U.S. versus Spanish players, especially Nadal and Blake. There was intense support out there for James. Did that cross your mind, that there was a turnover from here and Seville?

BOB BRYAN: I didn't think of it that way. I mean, we always know we're going to have good support here at the Open. James is a fan favorite. He's going to bring the fans on his side. Actually, the fans here carried us through those early rounds. We had some really sticky ones early, not playing our best tennis. But we were out on the Grandstand in a packed house, and they carried us, you know, to those later rounds where we actually picked up our level.

Q. Do you guys remember when it first crossed your minds that you wanted to be US Open champions?

MIKE BRYAN: I mean, since we were six years old. I mean, we always thought it would be pretty damn cool to win the US Open. You know, actually in '03, we actually had a good shot and we were kind of on a roll. We were carefree, we were winning all the big matches, won the French Open coming in and won the first set. And then first game of the second, I kind of blew out like my leg, my hip. And, you know, we lost the next set 6-0, then went on to lose the final. I mean, that was always in the back of my head coming into the Grand Slam finals. It's just good to kind of erase it here where it started because I was kind of always doubting my health and didn't know whether to go just 110% because I thought it was going to happen again. Now it's feeling good.

Q. You always like to have a great time and you're going to be obviously in a very great mood going over to Belgium. Andy, on the other hand, maybe we're all uncertain what his mood's going to be, even though now he's starting to practice, is ready to go. Have you talked to him recently? Do you know what his mood is? Will you tip-toe around him?

BOB BRYAN: Who knows what kind of mood he's in, but usually when he loses, he bounces back quick. He works harder and has more desire to win. He's a great competitor. When he won the US Open here in '03, he went over to Slovakia kind of like, "I'm on a roll, no one talk to me, just let me do my thing, I'm going to cruise here." He ended up losing. Then he got back to basics two days later and played some street ball, is like what he calls it, where he fights hard, digs in and, you know, really puts his heart on the court. So I think he's gonna bounce back and he's going to be hungry.

Q. You know he's in a particularly bad mood after this tournament.


MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, well, he was in Vegas the last few days. He's having fun (smiling).

BOB BRYAN: He's having fun.

MIKE BRYAN: He was here for a few days partying and then went to Vegas.

Q. What's Pat's plan? Will you have a week of practice here then --

BOB BRYAN: That was Pat's plan, but since Robby and James had a great run, he wants those guys to put the racquets down and take a couple days off after the Open. We're all going to leave on Saturday from New York and get there Sunday and have a good five days.

Q. How does Andy do Vegas?

BOB BRYAN: Does it well.

MIKE BRYAN: I don't know. He just flew all his friends in. I think they stayed in that Real World suite at The Palms (laughing). Not going to give you any more details (laughing).

Q. He's got some real poker connections.

MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, he does.

BOB BRYAN: Yeah, I mean, all the young Americans are playing that on-line party poker. So that's what we spend our time doing in the hotel rooms.

Q. You guys had a lot of dreams growing up, dreams playing Davis Cup, winning titles like this. Did you ever imagine that you'd have to defend your sport the way you have the past couple of weeks with the lawsuit and everything?

MIKE BRYAN: Not really. You know, doubles was thriving, you know, when we started getting spotted by the Jensens. The last few years, it's just been cutback after cutback, no promotion. We've seen it, you know. We've been playing when it's been suffering the most, and, you know, we've been trying to pick it up. Maybe there needs to be, you know, another team more like us, another fan favorite that we could clash against. But it's tough to have to fight for something, you know, you love so much and you know fans love it. The tour just doesn't seem to, you know, give it enough respect because, you know, the tournament directors are trying to save money. But we're just going to keep fighting for it. We think one day it could be looked at as, you know, up there with singles. You know, we're going to do all we can.

Q. Do you feel like you've made some progress?

BOB BRYAN: Yeah, this week?

Q. Yeah, this week.

BOB BRYAN: Yeah. I think it's gotten some good press, you know, Courier has been talking about it on the TV, and fans are aware of what's going on now. There's savedoubles.com, the site just went up today. People can send in donations and read about what's going on with the doubles. We're going to try to raise money not just for the litigation, but to improve junior tennis to get a doubles commissioner so he can look after doubles, so doubles doesn't get overlooked.

MIKE BRYAN: We're negotiating right now. We can already see there's some changes. I mean, on the website, ATP Tour, there's two doubles pictures, two singles pictures. On ESPN the other day I saw our name scroll across, which is a first. They're starting to get it, I think slowly but surely.

Q. Specifically here, no offense, but with an 11 o'clock Friday start, you're playing with a pretty empty house.



Q. Last night they put on a pretty weak second match. Why not just switch the dubs final to last match on Thursday?

BOB BRYAN: Yeah, we have no control over that. We're talking about a primetime match would probably be better for the fans and for doubles. But this is organized years in advance, and it's always been that Friday at 11. That's just the TV slot. We're glad we're getting TV time. My parents watched it back home. We're thankful for the TV time.

Q. Is it difficult to go from the earlier matches, a smaller court, it's the final, you want to be amped up, but it's empty.

BOB BRYAN: I think grandstand court is perfect for us. I don't know how many people it seats but it seems like it seats the right amount. I think Ashe is maybe a little too big for us. We might be able to pack it in if we played after Andy or Federer, you know. But at 11 a.m., when people are just getting out of bed, rolling in, I don't know, was it half full at the end? Maybe not (laughing).

Q. Patrick had an intriguing idea in here the other day. I was wondering out loud whether it would be profitable to perhaps reduce the doubles draw at a smaller one-week tournament to eight teams but have the opportunity to keep high-profile doubles teams like the Bryan brothers, Bjorkman-Mirnyi, in the draw and not do the doubles draw until later in the tournament, giving the singles players to enter the draw later?

BOB BRYAN: I don't think that's going to work. As you know, singles guys, once they lose, they're going to get out of there.

MIKE BRYAN: They want to go to the next city and practice. Even if they're in the tournament, they're going to want to bag the doubles because they want to play the singles.

BOB BRYAN: A couple thousand bucks doesn't mean a lot to like a Federer. I mean, if the prize money was boosted by a lot, it might be more meaningful to those guys. But I don't like to see the draws cut. We're not going to be affected by these cuts. There's going to be a couple of doubles teams in there, hopefully, we're still No. 1 and 2. I'd like to see the doubles draws grow and have juniors and people see a future and want to be doubles players, because I don't think right now, juniors want to be doubles players.

Q. This is a huge breakthrough for you. What do you have to do to take it to that ultimate notch where the Bryans are just feared, dominant doubles team?

MIKE BRYAN: Just got to play like today. I mean, what makes it special is we're two big guys and we serve pretty big so we're going to hold 99% of the time. If we bring that energy and togetherness, I think teams fear us, and, you know, I mean, we just got to play aggressive every time we walk out on the court. I mean, we usually, you know, play well in the Grand Slams because we get so fired up. That's why we've done well in Davis Cup. You know, I love to be, you know, a team like McEnroe and Fleming, continue for numerous and numerous Grand Slams. I think we can. Just got to stay healthy and stay young (laughing).

Q. Besides maybe sitting up here and talking, what do you need to do? Do you see yourselves as ambassadors for the doubles game? What do you think you need to make people have interest?

BOB BRYAN: For doubles? Well, you know, I think Mark Knowles is doing a great job, Mahesh Bhupathi and Graydon Oliver they're doing a great job with this with the lawyers and talking to the ATP. They've really come together. All the players are united right now. We've been playing a lot of matches and we've been meeting with these guys, too. I think if we're made stars, and doubles players are made stars, which I think can happen with the right promotion, I think fans are going to want to come see us play. They know who we are. Fans just want to see stars, they don't care who it is, they just want to see people they know.

Q. When did you guys first become aware of Agassi? Did you watch that match Wednesday night?

BOB BRYAN: Yeah, yeah, we did.

MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, it was probably one of the best matches I've ever watched. We've been aware of Agassi since he broke on the scene in, you know, '86, '87. We saw him down in Indian Wells. Became instant fans.

Q. Did you go buy all the gear?

MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, we were wearing the tights.

BOB BRYAN: The tights.

MIKE BRYAN: They were too big for our little skinny legs. Had every poster. Cut out every clipping. Every tiny little picture, just put it on the wall. Our whole wall was littered with little tiny clippings of pictures.

Q. Is it in a box somewhere?

BOB BRYAN: No, we moved all the posters to the garage, but they're still there.

Q. With the Alyssa Milano posters?

BOB BRYAN: No, it was like 20 Agassi posters, cardboard cutouts. We were super fans.

Q. When is the first time you met him?

BOB BRYAN: We met him at the Forum, it was probably 1990. He did an exhibition at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. We went down there, and he did a clinic down there.

Q. For people who remember when he first did the commercial with the Lamborghini, is it funny now, him in the commercial with the minivan and the little kid running to him?

BOB BRYAN: His whole image has changed over the years. You know, his crazy clothes, flamboyant on the court, always talking, he'd break racquets. Now he's wearing all white, you know, not saying a word, keeping his head together. He's like a gentleman now. It's weird how it's come full circle, but everyone still loves him.

Q. Happens to everyone eventually.

BOB BRYAN: Yep, yep.

Q. What is this US Open going to mean in terms of the next generation of Americans, James and Robby, you?

MIKE BRYAN: I think it's huge. It's going to take some pressure off Andy's back, too. We talked to Andy, and he's actually happy these guys are doing well because he's felt like he's the only guy standingg in the second week of Slams You know, it's good to have a crop, you know, to fall back on if, you know, something bad happens to Andy, you know. It keeps the tournament alive, it keeps the excitement for American tennis alive.

BOB BRYAN: The spotlight won't just be on Andy, and I think that will relieve some pressure. You know, getting James and Robby doing well so that everyone's just not focused on Andy, and Andy can kind of sometimes go under the radar and do great things instead of being in the spotlight.

Q. On an occasion like this, will you hear from Dick Gould?

BOB BRYAN: He already called.

MIKE BRYAN: He already called. He already left a message.

BOB BRYAN: I already got 45 e-mails that came in in the last 15 minutes.

MIKE BRYAN: I got 19 messages on my phone right here.

Q. What did Gould say?

MIKE BRYAN: Gould said -- yesterday he wrote me. He's like, "Go take it, it's all about you guys." So, I mean, that means don't rely on your opponents to just give it to you.

BOB BRYAN: Everyone was giving us advice for this one (smiling). "Breathe." "Stay strong." "Sack up."

MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, "Sack up."

Q. What's the weirdest one?

BOB BRYAN: Uhm, actually, I didn't think any of them were weird. I was taking anyone's advice. I was listening to anyone on this one.

Q. "Wear a garter"?

MIKE BRYAN: Actually, some guy told me, Just go out and party the night before, and just stay loose (laughing). "Don't worry about it, man, just go party."

Q. Did anyone say "don't choke"?

MIKE BRYAN: No, no one said "don't choke." They wouldn't be my friend anymore, put it that way (laughing).

End of FastScripts….

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