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Bryan brothers to retire at 2020 U.S. Open, don’t plan on Olympics

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Bob and Mike Bryan said they will retire after the 2020 U.S. Open, ending a tennis career that’s included a men’s record 16 Grand Slam doubles titles together.

They also don’t plan to play at the Tokyo Olympics, their manager later said in an email.

The twins are 41 years old, having spent more than half their lives as professionals.

“A part of us, feels like, is dying,” Bob Bryan said on Tennis Channel. “But we’re really clear about this decision. It’s going to be great to have a finish line.”

Mike said that in 2020 they will play all the events they “really love,” including all four Grand Slams and American tournaments. The Olympics weren’t mentioned.

Rather, they will see how they’re feeling midway through the year, they said on the Tennis.com podcast.

The Bryans earned doubles gold at the 2012 London Games but withdrew from the Rio Olympics six days before the Opening Ceremony. They cited making their family’s health a “top priority” and later said Zika virus concerns were “a very small part of” the decision.

The Bryans own 118 titles overall but nearly ended their partnership after Bob underwent hip surgery a year ago. He rejoined Mike this season, reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals and winning two ATP doubles titles.

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Bob, Mike Bryan had mixed doubles partners lined up before withdrawing from Rio

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NEW YORK — Mike Bryan said he would have played with Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Bob Bryan with either Venus Williams or CoCo Vandeweghe in mixed doubles if the Bryan brothers had not withdrawn from the Rio Olympics.

The Bryans, who teamed to win doubles gold at London 2012, pulled out six days before the Rio Opening Ceremony, saying they would have loved to compete but making their family’s health “our top priority” in a social media statement.

Before coming to the decision, they reached out to other players for advice, including Brazilian doubles specialists Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.

Bob Bryan said last week that Zika virus concerns were “a very small part of” their decision not to play in Rio. There have been no known Zika cases stemming from the Olympics, according to the World Health Organization.

“I didn’t expect there to be people just getting eaten alive by mosquitoes,” Bob Bryan said at the U.S. Open, where the brothers were scheduled to play in the quarterfinals Tuesday. “I’ve had great reports from players that went there. I’ve had so-so reports. Sometimes it’s based on how you perform that leaves that lasting impression. If you have a good performance, you’re like, oh this is awesome. If you lose in the first round, you’re like, all right, it sucked down there.”

Before the Bryans pulled out, it wasn’t publicly known what the U.S. Olympic mixed doubles teams would be. National federations don’t have to submit proposed teams until during the Games.

Mixed doubles returned to the Olympic program in 2012 for the first time since 1924. In 2012, both Bryans played mixed. Bob Bryan earned bronze with Lisa Raymond, while Mike Bryan lost in the first round with Liezel Huber.

Raymond retired between London and Rio, while Huber did not qualify for this year’s U.S. Olympic team. That swung the door open wider for the Williams sisters to make their Olympic mixed doubles debuts in Rio.

The Bryan brothers and the Williams sisters are two of three duos to complete the career doubles Golden Slam together, along with Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.

Had the Bryan brothers and Williams sisters played together in Rio, and faced each other like the eventual U.S. mixed teams did (for gold), it would have been the greatest collection of U.S. tennis success playing in one match in history.

The Bryans’ pre-Rio mixed doubles picks were familiar. Mike Bryan and Mattek-Sands won the 2015 French Open. Bob Bryan and Venus Williams reached the 2006 Wimbledon final. Bob Bryan also lost in the 2012 French Open first round with Serena Williams.

U.S. doubles teams were strong in Rio even through the Bryans withdrew and the Williams sisters lost in the first round.

Steve Johnson and Jack Sock took bronze, while Mattek-Sands and Sock beat Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram in the mixed gold-medal match. The U.S. earned zero singles medals.

The Bryans have not ruled out or committed to a run for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which would be their fourth Games. They would each be 42 years old.

“We’re not that sprightly anymore,” Mike Bryan said on SI Now last week. “But doubles, you can keep going. It’s not that physical on the body.”

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Bryan brothers pull out of Olympics, won’t defend gold medal

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Bob and Mike Bryan have pulled out of the Rio Games, less than a week before they were to begin defending their men’s doubles Olympic gold medal.

The Americans made the announcement on their Facebook page, citing their “family’s health,” but not specifically concerns with the Zika virus, which has caused many other tennis players and golfers to withdraw.

“After countless hours of deliberation Mike and I have decided to forego the Rio Olympics. Though we’d love to compete again, as husbands and fathers, our family’s health is now our top priority,” they wrote.

The 38-year-old identical twin brothers are the second-ranked men’s pair in the world. The U.S. Tennis Association is looking into replacements, according to the Associated Press.

The Bryan brothers defeated Michael Llodra and France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France for gold four years ago in London. At the 2008 Beijing Games, they fell to Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in the semifinals before knocking off Llodra and Arnaud Clement for bronze.

The Bryans were the No. 1 seed in both 2008 and ’12.

After winning gold in London, Bob and Mike went on to collect titles at the next four Grand Slams (2012 U.S. Open, 2013 Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon). The brothers have won a record total of 16 Grand Slam titles together.

After countless hours of deliberation Mike and I have decided to forego the Rio Olympics. Though we'd love to compete…

Posted by Bryan Brothers on Saturday, July 30, 2016

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