NEW YORK (AP) — Bob Bryan insists he didn't plan it. Mike Bryan says that's a good thing.
But if the Bryan brothers end up winning the U.S. Open, certainly the between-the-legs trick shot Bob pulled off Monday — executed when the brothers were two points away from losing their third-round doubles match — will go down as one of the most memorable shots either man has hit over careers featuring 11 Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal.
"There were 20 different options," Mike Bryan said. "He picked the 21st."
Tied at 5 in the second-set tiebreaker, Bob Bryan was standing in the doubles alley, facing the net when Santiago Gonzalez rocketed a ball toward his midsection. Bryan stuck the racket behind him and between his legs to knock it back, then, after the ball came back again, he closed out the point with an acutely angled, inside-out forehand winner.
The Bryans went on to beat Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky 6-7 (8), 7-6 (5), 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Bob Bryan called it the kind of shot kids hit while they're on the back, practice courts playing mini-tennis.
"If I was a coach, I'd tell my student never to do that," he said. "Or never do it again. It's something you don't want to try at home."
On the next point, Mike Bryan hit a perfectly placed topspin lob for a winner to close out the second set. Relatively traditional by this day's standards. Still, Mike celebrated by doing the "lawn mower" — kneeling down and pumping his fist a few times.
It's the kind of move he says he normally reserves for Davis Cup matches, though after those points, the Bryans said the Grandstand court had that kind of feel to it.