Bryans Capture Olympic Doubles Gold
Americans Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (KC Explorers) won the doubles gold medal on Saturday at the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event.
The top seeds defeated second-seeded Frenchmen Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6(2) in 88 minutes on Centre Court at the All England Club, Wimbledon.
Timothy Tsun Tink Fok, an IOC member from Hong Kong, and the Vice President of the International Tennis Federation, Juan Margets, presented the medals in an on-court ceremony. France’s Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet won the bronze medal earlier in the day.
"This is the biggest win of our career right here," said Bob Bryan. "It's unbelievable."
Mike Bryan said, “To play on Centre Court at Wimbledon and win the gold medal is a dream come true. We could stop tomorrow and we got a big smile on our face for the rest of our lives."
He dedicated the victory to his parents, Wayne and Kathy. "This one is dedicated to you guys. We love you. Mum, thanks for all the hard lessons every day for two hours. Dad, you ran the best clinics."
The Bryans capitalised on a slow start by their French opponents to break Tsonga to 30 in the first game, after they forced them into several volley errors.
At 4-3, Mike Bryan came under tremendous pressure on serve. But the right-hander fought back from 15/40 and saved five break points in total. Bob Bryan withstood a stern examination of his volleying skills at the net.
Bob Bryan went onto clinch the 39-minute first set with a hold to 30. Llodra and Tsonga had hit 18 winners to 10 winners for the Bryans, but the French pair was left to rue missing out on six break point opportunities.
The quality of the match improved in the second set with each player hitting a high percentage of first serves, pouncing on the slightest of short balls and not giving any chances away at the net.
In the tie-break, the Bryans took a 4-1 lead after they won both of Tsonga’s service points. Their greater experience and clinical volleying had helped them capture the gold medal after Llodra netted a forehand volley to end the 88-minute encounter.
Bob Bryan said, "[Match point was] a blur. All I remember I was in the corner, throwing up a lob, trying to hang in there somehow. I know we were up 6-2 in the breaker but you lose that one and things start to get a little tight."
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Bryans won the doubles bronze medal.
The twins join Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde as the only pairs to win multiple medals in the men's doubles event since tennis returned to the Olympic Games in 1988.
Overall, the United States has won the men's doubles event four times equalling Great Britain for most gold medals in this event.
Benneteau and Tsonga were both proud of their achievement.
"It was our dream for us to win one medal,” said Benneteau. “It's second place but it's huge. Even if we lost today it's a big moment."
Tsonga admitted, "Of course we are disappointed about this final, but anyway it's something really good to get this medal. It's really something big and we will never forget this moment."
Photo: FREY - AMN Images