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September 22, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Bob and Mike, tough doubles pair today, but you somehow made it look easy.
BOB BRYAN: It wasn't very easy. You know, the second and third might have looked easy, but I think that first set is where we got all the momentum. Could have gone the other way. If they were up a set, you know, with a loud crowd, they're going to be a lot tougher to beat.
You know, Mike made an incredible volley on set point in that breaker which turned the whole tide of the match, and that was the difference.
Q. You had those five break points. You weren't able to convert. Did anything change with you guys or did you just stick to your course?
MIKE BRYAN: It's frustrating losing five break points because that's the set right there. I mean, basically it comes down to a few points in that breaker. We're great frontrunners. We love to get up a set. After they work an hour for that first set and they don't get it, they kind of drop a little bit, their energy drops.
P. Mack told us a few things, and we took advantage of it. We love getting up, and then our feet start moving even faster and our focus gets even better.
Q. That is the longest tiebreak in U.S. Davis Cup doubles history. Did it feel long to you?
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, I mean, it felt along. I think we were down three or four set points serving to Jonas Bjorkman, a great returner. I think we came up with first serves every time, or did I have to dig that one out?
CAPTAIN McENROE: I think that was off the first serve.
MIKE BRYAN: It did seem long. 13-11, I don't think we've played one of those for a long time.
BOB BRYAN: It was an incredible breaker. It was pretty high-quality tennis. We were just playing one point at a time. It kept stacking up. We just kept switching sides, which was strange. Switch sides so many times. But, yeah, that's where that match was in that first set. I tell you, they're going to be a lot stronger if they get up a set on us. It gives them a little more belief.
MIKE BRYAN: Crowd gets a little louder.
Q. Jonas' assessment was that, Bob, you returned better than you usually do, and, Mike, you served better than you usually do. Do you guys agree with that?
BOB BRYAN: Yeah, I think this year we've been patching up some of the holes. You know, the weaknesses are my return and Mike's serve. You know, I think the reason we've been, you know, become more consistent in the last few years is that we're closing those margins a little bit. I'm returning better. My backhand return cross-court I thought I hit very well today. And Mike was hitting his spots on his serve incredible. Didn't give Jonas that many looks at the second serve. That's the strength of their team, is Jonas Bjorkman's return. He can really light it up, and we didn't give him a chance to do that.
Q. He also said you guys swing a lot and today all your shanks were going in, as well.
BOB BRYAN: He sounds a little bitter maybe (laughter).
CAPTAIN McENROE: I don't remember any shanks.
BOB BRYAN: He's a guy that you don't want to ask him the questions a little early. Give him a couple hours to settle down (laughter).
Q. Patrick, how much is it a relief for a Davis Cup captain to have a doubles team so solid?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Oh, it's huge. I mean, you know, not only because of how well they perform on the day, but just in their preparation and the way they get themselves ready to play the match.
You know that they're going to go out and be a hundred percent prepared to play that particular match. And as a captain, as a coach, you know, that's all you ever want from your players. And, you know, obviously the wins are great. I mean, we all are here to try to win. But from the bigger picture, the bigger standpoint, when you have two guys like this who do everything they can to play as well as they can, that's really -- it's just great to see. You know, it's great to see them, the attitude that they have.
Q. How did you like the surface?
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, when we got here the first day, we said this is one of our favorite surfaces to play on. You know, it wasn't too fast. We thought it would be lightning. And, you know, we love the US Open ball. Yeah, everyone started hitting. Usually it takes a few days to, you know, find your rhythm. But I was pretty loaded from the first day on.
CAPTAIN McENROE: Sunday.
MIKE BRYAN: Once you feel like that, then you start tapering off. Yeah, we felt good right from the start. Actually took a day off in there. I always do, but felt good. So didn't really even have to practice too much on the court.
Q. What did you think of their cohesiveness as a team today?
BOB BRYAN: They looked pretty solid together. You know, there wasn't too many holes. You know, the one -- if there was any weakness on that team, it was probably Aspelin's return, just having to move over to the side he's not comfortable with. Luckily we were hitting all sorts of serves at him, keeping him off balance.
That was one of the big keys of the match, our first-serve percentage. You know, serving 77%, I think that's what it was, is off the charts for us, especially with as much speed and spin on the ball.
Q. You guys said at the draw ceremony that this was probably going to be your toughest test of your Davis Cup career. You've played some tough matches, especially on the road - Czech Republic notably this year. Is this the best Davis Cup match, the highlight of your career so far?
BOB BRYAN: We've played some pretty sweet matches in Davis Cup. You know, this one is obviously awesome, especially having a 1-1 situation. I mean, I look back on a lot of great memories with Davis Cup. The Charleston tie was awesome, you know, carrying the team to the finals, having a 2-0 lead doing that. And then winning in Spain was just an unbelievable feeling with the biggest crowd in the history of tennis.
But I would put this one in the top two or three for sure. We played with kind of a calm intensity today that was just -- you know, it was awesome to play with you, Mike (laughter).
Q. You're obviously aware of history. You're closing in on the best American pair of all time, Fleming/McEnroe. Is that something that just wows you guys?
MIKE BRYAN: I mean, you don't want to think about that. I mean, we just go out and try to, you know, give everything for our country, for Pat, for our team. It seems like they're just stacking up.
I mean, we trained for eight days. We get here. We go out there and we spill it all. I mean, we say, Let's die for it, let's die for the match. That's what we do.
We play our best tennis in Davis Cup, I mean, by far. We treat it like it's, you know, our last match. I mean, there's an example today. We rose up and beat, you know, Jonas Bjorkman. I think he's got a great record on this court. I mean, our last two sets were pretty much flawless.
So, yeah, if the wins stack up, we get close to Johnny Mack, it's pretty cool. But we still got some work to do (laughter).
Q. Patrick, what can we expect tomorrow, do you think?
CAPTAIN McENROE: You can expect a lot of big serving tomorrow probably from both teams. You know, I think Andy thrives in this situation. He loves to come in and try to shut the door when we have the lead. He likes playing first.
So, you know, Thomas obviously played great against James, so we know how well he can play. But we feel pretty confident the way Andy played. As I said, you know, this is the kind of situation he really thrives on: a chance to close down the tie for us.
Q. It will be a different match, for sure, compared to Friday's game against Pim-Pim.
CAPTAIN McENROE: Oh, yeah, it will be a much different match from both guys. Obviously Andy will get a lot more looks on the return. Thomas is a better returner overall than Pim-Pim, but obviously doesn't have the same kind of firepower on serve. We'll see more rallies.
But, you know, if Andy serves the way he's capable and then moves it around, you know, it's obviously going to be difficult for Thomas to break his serve.
Q. Since we're not playing tiebreaks now nearly as much on the tour, again, that made the one in the first set kind of a bit more hair-raising for you.
BOB BRYAN: What do you mean we're not playing tiebreakers on the tour?
MIKE BRYAN: The new scoring, it's a no-ad scoring, but we play a super breaker for the third set. We still play tiebreakers in the first and second. So we still play a lot of tiebreakers.
BOB BRYAN: First set was exciting for us and for the crowd.
CAPTAIN McENROE: Not for me (laughter).
BOB BRYAN: Andy said it was the most nervous he's ever been at a Davis Cup tie. Every time I looked over there, I could see him kind of shaking. He's a pretty high-strung guy. He probably would like to be out there serving it out himself.
But, you know, it's awesome to have James and Andy rooting for us, you know, especially with such a big match coming up tomorrow. They're right there living and dying on every point, which is, you know, awesome to see.
Q. I don't want to be too corny about this, but since you guys were born as a team basically, is there something about the team format that really brings out the best in you, given the fact that you've counted on each other your whole life in a way that probably none of us could understand?
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, it's a fit. I've had this guy by my side my whole life. Haven't been apart for more than a couple days. So, yeah, I mean, we're a life team and we're going to be together forever.
Yeah, I mean, growing up we've loved playing on a team. I think it's the best thing you can do in tennis, playing for your teammates and your country. And we have the most fun these weeks. I mean, these are the highlights of our career right here.
You know, winning this match makes up for a bad US Open. If we can win the Davis Cup this year, I mean, it's going to put a stamp on a helluva good year. We're going to ride that wave.
Q. If it's going to be a decisive game, I know you don't want to guess, but who do you expect to play for Sweden in the fifth?
CAPTAIN McENROE: I would expect to see Pim-Pim play is what I would expect. But we'll be prepared for anything. We've been surprised before, and that's part of Davis Cup. But, you know, the No. 1 thing is for James to come out and play well, no matter who he plays.
Q. And how has James been over the last night?
CAPTAIN McENROE: He's good. His attitude is very good. His attitude's good. And I think, you know, in one way it would be nice for him to get another chance to go out there. Obviously we don't want that because we'd rather win Andy's match. But, you know, some part of me would like to see him have a chance to come back and play a real match, you know, instead of just a dead rubber, which happened a few times.
Q. Do you feel he turned a corner at the Open with a five-set win?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Definitely. James has made a lot of progress late in his career. He's 27, in the last couple years, that was one step. And, as I said yesterday after his match, you know, I expect him to take a couple more steps. I thought he had a chance to come back and win yesterday in five. You know, I really thought he could turn it around. He almost did, but, you know, he got off to a pretty poor start, so that cost him.
Q. You said on court afterwards, Patrick, that was one of the best sets of doubles you have ever seen, the first set.
CAPTAIN McENROE: Yeah, I thought so. I mean, I couldn't think of any one of the four players that made a mistake both tactically and then making the shot. I mean, they all moved perfectly to the ball. They all covered the open court. They all covered for each other. If I wasn't so nervous, I would have been enjoying it a lot because it was just a great set of tennis.
I haven't seen, you know, doubles played that well, you know, particularly in such a big moment and throughout the tiebreak.
But as the guys said, I mean, once they won that first set, their level even got a little bit better and it was tough for the Swedish guys to sort of stay with them then.
End of FastScripts