WIMBLEDON ***FINAL***Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan achieved a historic "Bryan Bros. Slam" on Saturday as they won their 15th Grand Slam championship at Wimbledon. The 35-year-old twins became the first team to hold all four major titles and the Olympic gold medal as they defeated Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 at The Championships.
Having won the first three major championships of the season, the Bryans also have the chance to become the first team in the Open Era to win the calendar Grand Slam. Not since Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman in 1951 has a team won all four Grand Slams in a season.
"It's hard to even dream that we'd have the slam, all four at one time," said Mike Bryan. "It all started back after we won the gold. It just felt like a huge pressure was released. Went on to win the Open and had a great summer. This year we've been on an amazing tear. Never had a streak like this. Especially at 35, I feel like we're hitting our peak.
"In the context of our career, it is probably up there at the top. I didn't think anything could feel as sweet as the gold medal, but this one just feels like there's a cap, a lid, or a ribbon around our career. It's pretty cool. It's something we never dreamed of, to try to win four in a row. It's too hard to dominate in doubles. Maybe we had a little luck involved along the way. We just took one at a time. It just added up. Now we got to try to suit back up for the calendar slam."
The Bryans won a record-breaking 13th major title with victory at the Australian Open in January (d. Haase/Sijsling) and followed with success at Roland Garros last month (d. Llodra/Mahut). Last year they went on a tear during the summer, winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics (d. Llodra/Tsonga) and triumphing at the US Open (d. Paes/Stepanek).
Nerves hindered the Bryans in the early stages of the final and Dodig and Melo took full advantage. The Croatian/Brazilian duo raced to a 5-0 lead before the Bryans settled. It was too late to save the first set, but they won six from seven games to establish a strong lead in the second set.
After levelling the match, the twins broke Melo for a 2-1 lead in the third set and gave their opponents no opportunity to recover. Melo and Dodig picked up their game in the fourth set, but a forehand winner from Mike Bryan saw the Americans break Dodig for a 5-4 lead and Bob Bryan confidently served out, closing with an ace in just under two hours.
"It was a very rough start," said Bob Bryan. "Those guys played hot. Our legs were a little Jello-y. It helps to have a three out of five set match. You have time. We found our rhythm, got a hold, and then started stacking hold after hold and added pressure on them until we got the breaks."
The Bryans won their 91st team title and ninth of the season. They came into The Championships on a wave of momentum and have won 24 matches in a row. Since finishing runners-up in the Monte-Carlo final in April (l. to Benneteau/Zimonjic), they have swept to five straight titles in Madrid (d. Peya/Soares), Rome (d. Bhupathi/Bopanna), Roland Garros, The Queen's Club (d. Peya/Soares) and finally at Wimbledon.
"I think that's the reason why we've been playing so well, is because we have everything," said Bob Bryan. "Everything now feels like a bonus. It just feels like we're adding nuts and whipped cream and cherries to our great career. We said that a few years ago: if we retire today, we feel like we've done it all. Let's go have some fun and add to whatever this is."
It is the third time the Bryans have triumphed at the All England Club. They previously lifted the trophy in 2006 (d. Santoro/Zimonjic) and 2011 (d. Lindstedt/Tecau), while also reaching the finals in 2005 (l. to Huss/Moodie), 2007 (l. to Clement/Llodra) and 2009 (l. to Nestor/Zimonjic).
Dodig and Melo were playing their first Grand Slam final in just their 10th event together. Their previous best team showing was a runner-up effort on their debut in Memphis (l. to Mirnyi/Nestor). En route to the Wimbledon final, they had beaten fourth seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the semis and seventh seeds Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau in the third round.