The Bryan Brothers: ‘We’re Enjoying The Afterlife’
“Now we’re enjoying the afterlife. We’ve both got families. A lot of time with our kids. We understand how important it is to put that energy into raising good human beings,” Mike said. “Maybe they can carry on the legacy, the Bryan Brothers. You [Bob] have the Bryan Brothers, I have one. We’ll see, we’ll have fun doing something else. We’ll figure it out.”
Bob has three children — two sons and a daughter — and Mike has one son. Even before their retirement, family was important to the Americans. When the Bryan Brothers lifted some of their biggest trophies in recent years, Bob’s kids tended to be nearby (Mike’s son was born last April). In what ended up being the team’s final tournament, the 2020 Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, Bob’s children were their to celebrate another trophy.
“We had a great 23 years, it’s almost too much time to do one thing,” Bob said. “I don’t miss it too much right now, but I do miss waking up having something to shoot for. The goals, the tournaments, just improving the game, having something to shoot for and doing it with you [Mike].”
Bob and Mike enjoyed unparalleled success, lifting 119 tour-level doubles trophies together. Some fans will remember them for their trademark chest bumps and all the time they spent signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. But the Bryan Brothers were also ferocious competitors, and that’s not something that will go away.
“The competition is fun,” Bob said. “I’m getting now into chess, parcheesi, other games.”
It wasn’t always as easy as the brothers made it look, especially in recent years. Bob underwent surgery on his right hip in August 2018, for example. But the pursuit of goals — in many cases, lofty for the Americans — kept them pushing forward into their 40s.
“You have one singular focus: that’s to win matches, to win tournaments, to try to finish No. 1. You have that drive and that vision that gets you out of bed,” Mike said. “We’re both competitors, we like getting the adrenaline rush. The highs and the lows of winning, losses, knowing where you stand against the rest of the teams on a weekly basis.”
As well-liked as they were — the twins won the Doubles Fans Favourite Award 14 times — and as tough as they still might have been on the court, Bob and Mike were ready to hang up their racquets aged 42. This was living proof that nothing lasts forever.
“We had a blast, but it was our time to step aside,” Bob said.
“I’m just going to miss the Tour,” Mike added. “This is what we’ve done for so long, it’s so comfortable. It’s really a simple life.”