Mike Bryan found himself a suitable backup partner for Wimbledon and the result was a record-tying 17th Grand Slam men’s doubles title — and his first without his twin brother. Bryan teamed with Jack Sock for only their second tournament together, and the American duo edged Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Michael Venus of New Zealand 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 on Saturday night in the final at Centre Court. The 40-year-old Bryan is the oldest man in the Open era to win the doubles title at the All England Club.
He won his first 16 Major championships, which included three others at Wimbledon, with his twin, Bob, who is sidelined right now because of a hip injury. “I want to dedicate this title to him, because I’m sure he’s watching on TV,” Bryan said in an interview with the BBC after the victory, mentioning that their grandfather passed away recently.
Sock also mentioned Bob in his post-match remarks, saying: “The tour misses him. He’s a legend and icon in tennis. I’m just filling in here for one of the greatest of all time.” This is Sock’s second Wimbledon title. He paired with Vasek Pospisil to defeat the Bryans in the 2014 final. “There was one guy I was going to play doubles with in this tournament, and it would be Mike Bryan, half of the greatest doubles team,” Sock said.
The final lasted 3½ hours and began with the retractable roof open, then ended with it shut for the last set. When Klaasen and Venus — who were trying to win their first Grand Slam title — held a set point in the fourth, Bryan was called for a foot fault on a second serve. That meant he double-faulted, giving the set away and forcing a fifth. There were about 20 minutes of daylight left, and Sock said: “I’m good to call it for the night. I can’t see.”
The decision was made to close the dome and turn on the artificial lights, so the match could continue until its conclusion. The key break came with Klaasen serving at 5-all, when he pushed a volley long after Sock sent a big forehand right at him. Bryan then served out the victory. John Newcombe is the only other man in tennis history with 17 Grand Slam doubles trophies. The most he won with one partner was 12, though. The Bryans’ 16 as a pair is a record.
They had played doubles with each other in a record 76 consecutive major tournaments until Bob missed the French Open in May. Mike entered Roland Garros with Sam Querrey, and they lost in the first round. Mike then played at a grass-court tuneup with Sock last month, their only event before Wimbledon. “It feels like we’re getting better every match,” Mike said. “We’re starting to jell. If Bob can’t come back, we’ll play this summer.”