The Bryan Brothers won the doubles championship at the US Open on Friday in front of a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium. It is their third career US Open title and ninth Major. Bob Bryan (who also won the mixed doubles on Thursday with Liezel Huber) spoke in the post match presser about the team’s fantastic summer since breaking “the Woodies” career title record.
Q. You guys talked about your emotions a little bit out there, but could you elaborate a little more on how you guys are feeling right now?
BOB BRYAN: It’s just been a crazy summer. You know, there’s so much emotion in LA after we won there. You know, there was a lot of pressure building, and, you know, breaking the record in front of our whole family actually just released a lot of tension, I guess, that had been building. We just — maybe we were playing safe up to that point, but we kind of just the flood gates have kind of opened since and we’ve played the best tennis we’ve ever played. This is the craziest summer we’ve ever had. To win Toronto, Cincinnati and the Open is a dream come true.
The Bryans success would be a nice enough story, and adding the timely message of their peace-loving opponents, the Indo/Pak duo of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Quereshi made it a really special moment not just for doubles and tennis but for all of sport. Here’s some video from the doubles trophy ceremony.
Mike Bryan thought the day was a real win-win, telling the press:
“I mean, it’s just a match. It’s a game, you know. When it comes down to it, a lot of people in Pakistan who don’t have homes and are out on the street. I mean, what they’re doing to bring India and Pakistan together is pretty special. A sport can bring people together. You know, these guys are gonna be great for the game for a long time.”
The U.N. ambassador from Pakistan dropped by the post-match news conference to give the Bryan brothers a thank you gift for their $5,000 donation to the country’s flood relief efforts. The brothers told the press that they plan to donate more, and would like to play exhibition matches in that part of the world.
Qureshi was asked to elaborate on his trophy ceremony statements :
Q. Obviously your play has helped in this cause, but how surprised are you with the attention that you’ve gotten here, in particular?
AISAM-UL-HAQ QURESHI: It’s been very overwhelming. I just felt like yesterday and today actually people have been supporting our points also, and they were, you know, clapping for us, as well. It just didn’t feel like we were playing Americans. They cheer for us, as well. I heard people saying, Come on Indo Pak Express, and let’s go, this this. It was great feeling. That’s what makes America such a great country, you know, freedom of all the religions. It’s just been a great experience. Like I said before, something I will never ever forget in my life, ever.
Q: Could you talk a little bit about the statement about Pakistan that you made after the match? Bryans said you were a little choked after you gave it.
AISAM-UL-HAQ QURESHI: I didn’t choke it up. It was pretty heavy talking to so many people. It’s not my everyday job to address so many people. I didn’t want to take away limelight from Rohan or from the Bryans also. Since September 11, every time I come to the States or western countries I feel people have wrong impression about Pakistan as a terrorist nation. I just wanted to declare that we are very friendly, loving, and caring people, and we want peace in this world as much as Americans want and the rest of the world wants. We all on the same side. There are extremist in I think every religion, but just because of them you can’t judge the whole country as a terrorist nation. I just want to get this message across as a Pakistani.
It was all-business for the women, who played their semifinal matches on Friday. Top seeded Caroline Wozniacki suffered a major/minor upset to Vera Zvonareva, losing in straight sets:
Caroline didn’t give away much, crediting Vera for the win and blaming her lackluster performance on a “bad day at the office.” Speaking of bad days at the office, Vera was asked about her fourth round exit last year in New York, where she suffered a major on-court meltdown vs. Flavia Pennetta:
Q. Last year you were very unhappy leaving the US Open, what is the different circumstances between last year and this year in terms of your emotions and your ability to play so well at a high level?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, last year is something that was in the past. I had some experience last year, not only here at the US Open, the whole year overall I played a lot of matches. I take that experience and I try to use it to my advantage. Never look back. I’m just looking forward all the time.
Kim Clijsters took out Venus Williams in an exciting semifinal: 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4. It was a good match, and I’m happy for the defending champ, but I can’t help but feeling a little sad for Venus, who at age 30, may have let her last best chance at a Major slip through her fingers.
Q. Every loss is disappointing, but knowing your age and all the years you’ve played, is this perhaps more disappointing than some of them, or do you feel like I’ll be back next year?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I definitely feel like I’ll be back next year. This is what I do, and I feel like I played great tennis even with minimal preparation. Yeah, obviously I would have liked to win this match and be playing tomorrow. But, I mean, these days you have to be — you know, I may have lost the match, but that’s just this match. There will be others.
I was going to call Clijsters vs. Zvonareva the defacto final, but remember: Zvonareva has beaten Clijsters the last two times they’ve played, both this year, both on fast courts – Montreal and Wimbledon – and both in three sets. I think Saturday evening’s final is going to be a real battle for both, especially considering that Clijsters had the harder win on Friday.