Bryan and McEnroe Brothers featured on World Tennis Day
Former Stanford players faced off at Madison Square Garden
NEW YORK (March 5) -- Bob and Mike Bryan and John and Patrick McEnroe, all former Stanford Cardinal men’s tennis players, spent World Tennis Day entertaining a large crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Bryan Brothers, regarded by many as the best doubles team in history, made their debut Monday night at Madison Square Garden, as did Patrick McEnroe. The elder McEnroe is no stranger to Madison Square Garden, winning three ATP World Tour Finals during the 13 years the event was held there (1978, 1983 and 1984).
All four players were NCAA champions during their college tennis careers. John McEnroe spent a year at Stanford before turning pro, and the ITA All-American won the NCAA Singles Championship and led his team to the NCAA Team Championship in 1978.
Patrick McEnroe followed in his brother’s footsteps and attended Stanford, helping his teams win NCAA Team Championships in 1986 and 1988. Patrick was a three-time ITA All-American in singles in 1986, 1987 and 1988.
The Bryan Brothers both attended Stanford for two years. Bob was an ITA All-American in singles and doubles in both 1997 and 1998, while Mike was an ITA All-American in doubles in 1997, and both singles and doubles in 1998. During the 1998 season, Bob won all three NCAA Championships: the singles, doubles with his brother Mike, and the team title.
The brothers turned pro after their second year at Stanford, and they have now won 15 grand slam titles and multiple Olympic medals. They have held the World No. 1 doubles ranking longer than anyone else in doubles history, and have finished the ATP year-end number 1 doubles team a record nine times.
The Bryans beat the McEnroes 8-3 at the World Tennis Day exhibition, and afterward the brothers said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Bob Bryan said, “It was just a thrill for us to be at Madison Square Garden. We have never set foot in this arena in our lives, and to be out there was amazing. As doubles players, to play in front of 15,000 people…who knows if we will ever have that chance again? It was just everything we thought it would be.”
His brother Mike said it had been quite awhile since they were on court with two other Cardinal, and said they still follow college tennis.
“Yes we’re always checking up on it. We’re obviously following Stanford – I hit their website once a week to see their results,” he said.
Mike said he and Bob made the right decision to play college tennis, and they loved their time at Stanford.
“It was a fun two years – it was probably the best years of our life. We just had a blast playing at Stanford and we learned so much from Coach Gould,” he said. “We needed those two years to mature into the people we are today. If we would have turned pro at 18, we were mentally immature, physically immature. We would have been beaten up.”
Mike said he believes college tennis in of great benefit to many players. “Two years (at Stanford) was perfect for us; we needed to pack on a little muscle. Some guys will turn pro and get beaten up and they’ll lose interest in the game and lose their confidence – it’s happened a few times. There are only a few players who can come out there and break through in a game that’s so physical at 18. So I recommend that most of the juniors play a year, have some fun and see how you do."