The Bryan Brothers got the Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer treatment in the latest New York Times Magazine. The lengthy article by Eric Konigsberg is called Unseparated Since Birth and is filled with the kind of freaky/sweet identical twin anecdotes that will make this required reading for Roger and Mirka.
I’ve poached some choice excerpts (click here for the full article):
On the twins’ inseparability:
Some of the things Bob and Mike Bryan share include: an origin in the same dividing zygote; the No. 1 doubles ranking on the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour, a distinction they have held at the ends of four of the last six years; the titles of all four Grand Slam events; two houses; a car; and a bank account. “Most of our friends, if they’re looking for one of us, probably want to tell us both the same thing, and they know we’re probably together,” Bob says.
They do have different girlfriends. “They usually call us on our cellphones,” Mike says. The twins also have different phone numbers.
Pity the girlfriends:
Living every moment together probably has its costs, the brothers acknowledged. “The twin thing has kind of gotten in the way in the past with girlfriends, and we’re aware of it,” Bob said. Both girlfriends turned away, suddenly interested in sharing their sushi with the other end the table. “Sometimes, it’s been easier to just tell them that tennis comes first.”
Someday soon, “within a year or two,” Mike said, he and his brother will have to learn to be apart more. “Someday we’ll both get married, and we should have our own houses,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to it.” The house next door in Camarillo is for sale, and there was some talk about buying it to create a compound. “That would be weird,” he said.
“So weird,” his girlfriend turned to say.
Why the brother’s don’t play singles:
From the time the boys were 8 and were supposed to play each other in the final of a Southern California tournament, Wayne and Kathy Bryan resolved never to let one of their sons beat the other. “He made us both default, and we brought home the winner and runner-up trophies,” Mike recalls. They took turns winning national tournaments in every age group. If for some reason they met in an earlier round, the boys alternated who would forfeit the match so one of them could move on. “We were supposed to play in the national 18s at Kalamazoo” — the 18-and-under championship tournament — “and the U.S.T.A. said they needed us to play a match, because people were there to watch,” Mike says. It was an important moment.
“We decided we were mature enough.” This is Mike again.
“We knew we were pretty equal,” Bob says. Bob won in two tiebreaker sets and finished 1996 ranked first in the country. Mike wound up No. 4. “I wanted to win, but I was worried about him losing,” Bob says.
But they don’t always play nice:
“We know which buttons to push with each other,” Mike says. “I pick on his backhand.” After they played a bad match at Wimbledon in 2006, the brothers exchanged punches and kicks, and Bob smashed Mike’s guitar.
A typical Bryan family night:
Wayne was on his patio. It was a Sunday evening, and the boys had come over for a barbecue. Greetings had scarcely been exchanged when Wayne, a tall and bull-necked fellow with a shaved head, raised his voice and said: “Music room. Your mom’s been taking bass lessons.” With Wayne on electric guitar, Bob on keyboards, Mike at the drum kit and Kathy with a bass guitar in her lap and a music stand before her, the Bryans, all of them in tennis outfits, belted out “Silly Love Songs,” then “My Girl.” Wayne sang and kicked his leg high on the downbeat. “One more song and then we’ll play croquet,” he said. He started in on “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl”). The boys whooped.
Sorry to bring this back to Federer Family, but I can’t help imagining Mirka on bass.
Speaking of Roger: ” ‘If Roger decided he cared about doubles, he’d be the best in the world at that,’ Mike says.”
Click here for the full article.