Three weeks after winning Olympic gold medals, Bryan brothers play tennis exhibition at Lake Club
WILTON -- It's not too often a pair of Olympic gold medalists breeze through town, but newly crowned Olympic Champions Mike and Bob Bryan came to Wilton's Lake Club to put on a charity tennis exhibition for fans.
Widely heralded as the most successful doubles team in the history of the sport, the Bryan brothers are fresh off of what they consider the highlight of their tennis career to date.
"No doubt it takes the cake. It's the top of the list. That medal is going to go right in the front of the trophy case for sure," Bob Bryan said. "We've won all the Slams, but there's no greater feeling than winning the gold, and we can see that just in the reaction of casual tennis fans. We've never received that reception after winning a Slam."
"It's been a busy week. We've been doing a lot of appearances, but it's cool. Everyone has been super nice," Mike Bryan said. "We're still thrilled that we did it. It's starting to sink in now that we're back on U.S. soil. Tonight is just another event, and we're happy to meet some new people and give back to charity."
In Saturday's exhibition at the Lake Club, the Bryans squared off against Ashley Fisher (four ATP doubles titles) and Jordan Kerr (2008 Olympian) with the Bryans coming away with a 7-5, 6-3 victory. Between the two sets, the Bryans played one game against a boys team and a girls team from Norwalk Grassroots Tennis.
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The exhibition benefitted the National Tennis Foundation and Norwalk Grassroots Tennis, which is in its 17th year.
"Some kids will come through the program only for one summer, or they may come back year after year. Some of them are now in college playing tennis on scholarships," said Tracy McEloy, executive director of Norwalk Grassroots Tennis. "This is an amazing event. They are very excited to be here. They're ready to get (the Bryan brother's) autographs. We've got over 100 volunteers who help us through the entire year. Without volunteers, we wouldn't be able to do all the things that we do."
In addition to capturing the gold medals on Aug. 4 at the Olympics, the brothers also won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics, and their tennis resume includes 78 ATP tournament titles. The Bryans, 34, have been ranked as the ATP No. 1 doubles tennis team in the world in a record seven different years and have won over 700 pro matches.
And despite a never-ending list of accomplishments in tennis, the Bryans don't sound as if they're planning on shutting it down too soon after capturing gold.
"We're always gunning for No. 1. We'd love to be No. 1 for the eighth time this year. You can never rest when you play tennis because you've always got another tournament on the horizon," Mike Bryan said. "We're going to shoot for the next Olympics, and then probably shut it down at 38."
The Bryan brothers also run their own charity, the Bryan Brothers' Foundation, and are aware that many of their biggest fans are young tennis players.
"(The gold medal has) probably been on 10,000 hands, and it's definitely fun sharing it with other people," Bob Bryan said. "We're looking to put on a good show for the people, especially the kids that play."
"The big thing is for parents to make tennis fun for their kids," Mike Bryan said. "Don't worry about the wins and losses; just have them with their friends. We're always looking to give back to kids."