One of the toughest records to beat in tennis finally fell on Monday when the Bryan brothers Mike and Bob registered their 271st week at the top of the world doubles standings.
The 33-year-old twins moved past fellow American John McEnroe, who was not only one of the game’s best singles players but also one of the greatest in the two-man format.
“John McEnroe is a legend. He’s definitely one of the best doubles players in history. We respect and admire what he’s brought to the sport,” Mike Bryan told the ATP Tour website.
“To be grouped in the same category and mentioned in the same breath as McEnroe is an honor in itself. We play against McEnroe in exhibitions and he still shows what a talent he is.”
The Bryans have topped the year-end list since 2005.
They have won the most men’s doubles titles with 75, and took their grand slam-leading tally to 11 this year with triumphs at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
“To achieve this record and surpass John McEnroe, who we’ve always looked up to, is awesome,” said Bob, who is expecting a daughter with wife Michelle in January.
“This ranks up with our record of most team titles. It shows we were consistent throughout our whole career and we didn’t want to relinquish the top spot.
The Bryans are the only partnership to have won 700 matches, and they have a record 19 Masters 1000 tournament titles.
With the season now over, next year they can beat Pete Sampras’ mark of 286 weeks at the top of the men’s singles.
“Singles and doubles are totally different, but it’s nice to be at the top of doubles. That’s what we do and it’s what we love,” Bob said.
“I’m just grateful that we’ve been able to do it for so long. We’ve now played on tour for 13 years and have been lucky to stay healthy. We still have a great time playing so we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. When our careers are over, I think we’ll look back and be proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
They thanked their Australian coach David MacPherson, who has worked with the brothers since 2005.
“Since bringing him on board, we’ve been a lot more consistent, and he’s worked hard to help us improve each year. Without him, this would not have been possible,” Mike said.