SKILLMAN, N.J. - With the storied Wimbledon grounds serving as the backdrop, brothers Bob and Mike Bryan (Stanford) added some luster to their already remarkable careers with a gold medal victory in doubles at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The duo defeated the French pair of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra 6-4, 7-6 on Centre Court at the All-England Club.
The brothers become the first American men’s doubles team to win Olympic gold since the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Hall of Fame pair of Ken Flach (SIU-Edwardsville) and Robert Seguso (SIU-Edwardsville) accomplished the feat in 1988 in Seoul.
The victory moved the Bryans into elite company, as they achieved the Golden Slam in doubles, adding Olympic Gold to 11 titles captured in the four majors (Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. Open). With the addition of a Davis Cup trophy (2007) and multiple titles at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the Bryans’ Hall of Fame resume seems complete. For the former ITA All-Americans, winning gold marks the crowning achievement of their careers.
“This kind of eclipses any of our wins. There hasn’t been a more special feeling than this,” said Mike Bryan afterwards. “We’ve won a lot of slams. Slams are awesome,” added Bob Bryan. “I can tell you there’s no better feeling than this right now. Winning for each other, for our team, but for our country. It brought a different level of intensity to our tennis this week.”
Mike Bryan helped another former collegiate player reached the medal podium, partnering with Lisa Raymond (Florida) to capture the bronze medal in mixed doubles – posting a 6-3, 4-6 (10-4) victory over Sabine Lisicki and Christopher Kas of Germany. It was the first Olympic medal for Raymond, a two-time ITA National Player of the Year recipient (1992, 1993) who will enter the ITA Women’s Collegiate Hall of Fame in November.
The Bryans, who captured bronze in Beijing four years ago, are preparing for life after the Olympics as they head back to the ATP Tour.
“People that we haven’t talked to in 10 years have already called and texted. So we have a lot of new friends now after winning this gold, which is cool,” said Bob. “It’s (gold medal) going to be around my neck for at least a few days. I’m not taking this off until I get back to the States. If I pull out of Toronto (Rogers Cup) with a strained neck, you will know why.”