Australian Open 2012: Examining Bryan Brothers Legacy If They Win Doubles Finals

Marilee Gallagher@mgallagher17Contributor IIJanuary 27, 2012

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 15:  The Bryan brothers of the USA pose with the winners trophy after victory in the Men's Doubles final against Matthew Ebden of Australia and Jarkko Nieminen of Finland during day eight of the 2012 Sydney International at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre on January 15, 2012 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Although the big final in tennis doesn't come until the weekend, when the monster match between No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal will take place, there are still tons of other finals left to be played. Sure they aren't as high profile but in the categories of Boys and Girls Juniors Singles, Mixed and Men's Doubles, there are still titles to be won.

As mentioned, one of those titles up for grabs is the Men's Doubles title and once again, the brother duo of Mike and Bob Bryan find themselves playing the grand slam's most important match. Like I said, I know this isn't as high profile and that most people don't care that much about doubles, but with all of the Nadal-Djokovic talk, I figured I would talk about something different and something new. If the Bryan Brothers win his tournament it will just add to their trophy case of hardware and go a long way to them cementing their legacy as best doubles team of all time.

The History

The Bryan Brothers, hailing from California, have been playing doubles together since they were six years old. The boys competed in many junior events winning well over 100 total doubles events including the USTA National Boys' 16 and 18 Clay Court doubles titles and the USTA National Boys' 18 Championships. In 1996, the Bryans won their first grand slam juniors double title at the U.S. Open and added to it by winning the Bronze Medal at the Pan American Games, the first time they officially represented the United States.

In the midst of all of that, both boys also went to Stanford University on full-ride tennis scholarships. They helped Stanford win two NCAA team titles and captured the NCAA doubles title once as well.

In 1995, they made their grand slam debut. However, it wasn't until 2003 that the team started to become the best current doubles team on the ATP tour.

The Grand Slam Titles

Since 2003, the Bryan Brothers have captured 11 Grand Slam Doubles titles, tying them for most of all time with the great Australian doubles team of "The Woodies." Their first title came at the French Open in 2003, where they breezed through to the Finals, not having dropped a set the entire tournament. They added four more title wins and in their Davis Cup debut, helped the U.S. to a 3-2 victory over the Slovak Republic.

In 2005, after reaching but losing in three consecutive doubles finals, the Bryan Brothers finally won their second slam and their first at the U.S. Open. After that, the floodgates really opened for this pair. They appeared in another three finals and won two of them (Australian Open and Wimbledon) to start off 2006, marking a record consecutive seven finals appearance. In winning the Aussie and Wimbledon titles, the Bryan Brothers also completed the career grand slam.

Out of the brothers' 11 titles, nearly half of them have come at the Australian Open. Having won the title in 06, 07 and again in 09,10 and 11, the Brothers are entering this final as the three-time defending champions. Over the course of their career, this slam has yielded them the best results and it is likely they will continue to have success at the Aussie and win their 12th grand slam title, setting a new record for titles by a doubles team.

The Records

Over the course of their career, the Bryan Brothers have broken and set many ATP doubles records, completely changing the face of the doubles game and dominating their way into the history books. Some of these records include:

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 01:  Bob Bryan (L) and brother Mike Bryan follow through on a shot to the team of Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer during the doubles final of the Farmers Classic at the Los Angeles Tennis Center - UCLA on August 1, 2010 in Los
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

—117 ATP World Tour Tournament Finals, 76 of them titles

—20 Grand Slam Finals, 11 Grand Slam Titles

—276 consecutive weeks at world No. 1, seven year end finishes at No. 1

—Eight time ITF World Champions including five consecutive

—19 ATP World Masters 1000 titles, three ATP World titles

The Legacy

It seems quite obvious that if the Bryan Brothers are not the best of all-time, they are certainly in the top two. Personally, I believe they are the best based on their incredible number of titles, records and consistent grand slam performances. Faced up against the Woodies previous records (61 ATP Titles and 15 grand slam finals), the accomplishments of the Bryans stand alone. They are going for their 12th Grand Slam title which would set another record of most all-time. If this happens, the only thing they don't have to their name that the Woodies do is an Olympic gold medal. The Bryans, currently in possession of a bronze medal, are one gold short of completing the Career Golden Slam and if they get the gold at the 2012 Olympics, I think it would be hard to argue against them as the best doubles team ever.