Q. Why are you building a gym at home?
BOB BRYAN: Rehab for my shoulder.
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah. We had an extra garage. We had the music room in the other garage. Every time we went across the street to the club, we got hassled by members. We’d always sit in there and talk to the members.
BOB BRYAN: Not hassled.
MIKE BRYAN: Just talked. Didn’t get as much work as we wanted done.
Q. When did you build it?
BOB BRYAN: The day after Shanghai.
MIKE BRYAN: I did most of it.
BOB BRYAN: You cleaned.
MIKE BRYAN: I cleaned out the garage, dusted it all, put down the carpet and mirror, got the equipment. Yeah, we spend a couple hours every day in there. Don’t have a heater. It’s pretty freezing in there.
Q. There was a time a year ago or so that people started to doubt you could win slams routinely.
BOB BRYAN: It’s not routine. It’s never routine. Like I said before the final to Mike, let’s go play like it’s our last slam final. You never know when you’re going to be in another one.
We really cherish each one. There’s so many good teams out there. You have to stay healthy. Like we saw last year, I didn’t even know if I was going to have my serve back.
We’re really excited to be healthy and be on top again. I think we’ll take over the No. 1 ranking again, which is where we feel the best. We feel at home at No. 1. It’s a little bit different to being in the off‑season as the No. 2 team. It made us want to work harder.
Seven weeks off really refreshed us mentally. I felt like we came into last season a little irritable. Long Davis Cup match, a lot of stress and pressure. Didn’t get much time off. Had like five days off after the exhibition season. We came in here kind of baked. The whole season was like swimming uphill.
This year we feel like we have a clean slate. We’re healthy mentally is the big thing.
Q. You’ve been so committed to Davis Cup, but it does take its toll.
BOB BRYAN: The final was awesome, the best moment we’ve ever had in tennis. But definitely stressful. I mean, we go out there, we don’t get much sleep for the whole week leading up. You’re out there training. Keep training hard. We didn’t go to Shanghai. But we kept training, training, training, all the way to early December. Right after that, just straight to exhibitions.
This year we just put the racquets down for a month. We didn’t pick up a racquet for a month. Just worked out in the gym. Only did two exhibitions. Didn’t go to Hawaii like we usually do. Just stayed at home. Didn’t get off the couch. Watched movies all day and left on January 8th. We built the gym at the house so we didn’t have to leave. We just got in a routine, just cleared the mind, feel refreshed for the first time in a long time.
Q. Is your shoulder a hundred percent?
BOB BRYAN: Yeah. I mean, it’s pretty close to a hundred percent. It still feels a little weird.
MIKE BRYAN: Feels a lot better.
BOB BRYAN: Yeah, it feels a ton better. That tear is healed. I’m still working on it every day to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Q. Looking at tonight’s match, after a very poor first set, how did you turn it around?
MIKE BRYAN: We got broken first game of the match. You feel a little frantic. It felt like things were going wrong. They played great tennis to beat us 6‑2 in the first.
It came down to one or two points. Bob hit that kind of a lucky shot where he wasn’t looking. It was on a big point at 15‑30. That’s kind of a miracle shot. Then that kind of put the burn in the back of their mind, I think. Then it just opened up. We relaxed.
We call it getting the pickle out of the jar. You’re working so hard, it kind of just breaks free. We loosened up and let our shots go. That’s one of the best sets we’ve played in a long time, the third.
It was a good match. It was high quality. Mark and Mahesh rose to the occasion and played some good tennis. Feel bad for them that they were so close. I feel it was a little luck, but it went our way. We started playing pretty good at the end.
Q. Did the match come quicker than you thought, because of the women’s single?
MIKE BRYAN: That was a blowout. We’ve seen it a few times before. Played behind the women. A lot of time they’re quick, yeah. I think we played after Henin and she pulled out. That was a quick one.
BOB BRYAN: Henin/Mauresmo. Then Serena and Sharapova.
MIKE BRYAN: Then the French Open, there was a French Open final where Henin beat someone just really bad.
BOB BRYAN: Clijsters.
MIKE BRYAN: We’re surprised, but we’re always ready. Yeah, we have a routine down where we shower, we’re ready for anything.
Q. You’ve been around for a long time, had a lot of success, traveled. What kind of reaction do you find yourself getting coming back to these places? How is it different from the earlier years?
BOB BRYAN: I feel like our fan base is growing. We get a pretty warm reception down here. It feels good coming down here. It feels like a lot of people know us. When we’re walking around, there’s a lot of tennis fans out there. We’re signing some autographs in the casino or whatever. It makes you feel good because tennis fans know who we are, but most people don’t.
Yeah, we walk around Camarillo, our hometown, fine, not have to sign autographs, anything. Just nice to be recognized once or twice a day. Makes you feel good. I don’t know.
Q. Go back to the casino part.
MIKE BRYAN: We stay at the Crown every year. It’s a blast. Bob does a little bit of gambling. Not much.
BOB BRYAN: Just peanuts.
Q. You’re not like Sampras.
BOB BRYAN: We don’t gamble to make money. We’re not trying to make money.
MIKE BRYAN: We don’t go to The Mahogany Room. There’s a Mahogany Room where the high‑limit guys go. Andy is up there going big swings. I played with my girlfriend. Cent slots.
BOB BRYAN: Two cent slots.
MIKE BRYAN: Trying to earn dinner, you know.
Q. Can you talk about the Olympic match might affect you in Davis Cup? And how do you not give Roger Federer too much respect?
MIKE BRYAN: When we were playing them, you watch them on TV so much, you’re a little bit in awe and you’re expecting them to hit the big shot, ace you on a big shot, just because we’re huge fans of the guy. I’m always rooting for him. Can’t believe some of the stuff he does.
We felt like we had to overplay in that match. We were a little bit nervous and sluggish. It felt like he was kind of just freezing us a few times. It doesn’t happen very often where you kind of play a legend. It happened when I played Andre at the US Open in singles. I had posters in my room.
We’re going to try to treat him like a normal human being. It’s kind of nice being the underdog. Everyone said we were the heavy favorites playing those guys over at the Olympics. We probably were because they hadn’t played much together. But this time the pressure’s kind of released; they’re the Olympic medalists.
Yeah, I mean, it’s a really important match to us, for the U.S. I see that as kind of the swing point, ’cause I think Stan is going to have trouble breaking Andy and James on that quick court, but Roger’s probably going to be Roger in singles.
Q. It’s pretty hard for one guy to win three points.
BOB BRYAN: It is.
MIKE BRYAN: It is.
BOB BRYAN: It will be nice to keep those guys out there on the Saturday. I think Andy and James will enjoy watching Roger and Stan put in the work on the Saturday. They’ll just be kicking back at the hotel or watching one set and getting that huge rest.
Like we see out here, it’s hard to bounce back. The body needs time to recover and regenerate. If you’re on the court pounding away, even if it’s a doubles match, it’s still mentally taxing and physically taxing.
Q. Do you think Rafa is going to have a hard time tomorrow?
BOB BRYAN: If anyone can pull it off, it’s Rafa. If it was me, I’d be in a body bag right now.
Q. You’re going into Miami as the defending champions. Can you talk about that, your feelings about that tournament.
MIKE BRYAN: We always try to peak for Miami. We consider that the next biggest tournament behind the slams. When everyone asks us what our favorite tournament is, we say this one and Miami.
We love staying right there on South Beach. It’s just a great atmosphere. Fans come out. It feels like a prime time tournament. So we always try to play our best tennis there.
Yeah, it’s great we’re defending champions. We’ve always wanted to be on that player board. We finally got it the last couple years. Then they took it out of the locker room. Hopefully they put it back.
But, yeah, definitely that’s one of our favorite tournaments. We love coming to Miami.
Q. Did you say you were going out with Serena?
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah.
BOB BRYAN: We went two years ago. We’ve been seeing each other at the courts these two weeks. We just said, Let’s do a repeat of two years ago. She won the singles, we won the doubles, then we all went out in the club until the wee morning of Sunday.
Q. Is that club still here?
BOB BRYAN: Same club. Right across the street from the hotel.
MIKE BRYAN: All I know is Serena usually picks up the bill.
Q. She didn’t beat you guys when you were 10?
BOB BRYAN: No.
MIKE BRYAN: We knew her. They grew up in Southern California. They came up to our club.
No, we were always just way older. I know she said she beat Andy.
Q. Could you talk about the challenges of the new drug testing regime.
BOB BRYAN: Yeah, it’s pretty strict. We got tested a few times when we were home. The tough thing is you got to be worried to go to breakfast at 8 in the morning. You got to wait it out and stay until 9. If you’re clear, you can go eat breakfast. You always got to kind of be on‑call. I guess it’s the responsibility of a professional athlete.
It’s a little bit brutal. They can’t call you. I guess that’s the rule now. We have one or two missed tests, so we got to be really aware of what we’re doing and make sure.
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, you got to communicate with whoever it is, the ITF, where you’re going to be at all times. They even want to know when you’re flying in, the day you arrive, if you’re going to be at the hotel for an hour.
We missed a couple. Just weren’t thinking. Just down in L.A. One time I got a flat tire. But, yeah, you just got to be ready for anything.
Q. They just knock on the door?
MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, they just knock on the door.
BOB BRYAN: Knock on the door. If you’re not there… They used to call you, and you have one hour. That’s usually enough time to get to the house. But now they don’t call you.
Mike missed a test. He was just at breakfast. Just had an extra long breakfast.
MIKE BRYAN: Every time we’re home, they’re usually there, one of the days. I think we got tested 15 to 20 times last year. It’s either USADA or the ITF. Yeah, you just got to be home.
Q. Can you not miss another test?
MIKE BRYAN: I think I have ‑‑ April ‑‑
BOB BRYAN: Until April he’s got to be clean.
MIKE BRYAN: But I’m sure I can appeal because this body doesn’t look like a ‘roided‑out body.
Q. Rafa described it in Spanish as intolerable harassment, and Roger says it’s a necessary evil. Where do you come down on that?
BOB BRYAN: I don’t know. I think once someone gets banned for missing a few tests, then you hear the stories and they’re kind of ridiculous stories, then I think we’ll probably have a problem with it. If it’s one of our friends that goes out, if Mike gets banned…
MIKE BRYAN: I think it has to be done, though. It’s fair across the board. You don’t want doping in tennis. The fans definitely don’t want anyone playing that’s ‑‑
BOB BRYAN: ‑‑ cheating.
MIKE BRYAN: It’s good. I think we just got to get used to the strictness.
BOB BRYAN: The strictness.
Q. Was it really a flat tire?
MIKE BRYAN: I missed a couple. One of them, I think I got a flat tire. I was trying to make my way back up from L.A. One I decided to take my girlfriend to San Francisco for a day. I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t call my agent or the ITF.
Q. Nestor and Zimonjic got beaten in the second round. Were you surprised?
BOB BRYAN: Yeah. They’ve been a tough team for the last year. They’re probably our biggest rivals right now in the sport. We played them six times in six finals in 12 months, so yeah. We weren’t disappointed to see them lose. Obviously it opens the draw up a little bit.
We played Knowles and Bhupathi today, who we respect. I wasn’t nervous before this final because I knew we had to play our best tennis. You can’t just go out there and play safe against a team like that.
Yeah, I mean, I wish Daniel and Nenad the best. They’re both at home with their families, their new babies, and they’re having fun off the court.
Q. Do you feel targeted by the drug testing or is it everyone?
BOB BRYAN: It’s everyone.
MIKE BRYAN: They’re not coming after any one individual player. I’m pretty sure it’s fair across the board.
Q. Where would you rate the Polish players, Matkowski and Kubot?
MIKE BRYAN: I consider them a top five team. They’re getting better every year. They’re really powerful, a dangerous team. Big shots.
BOB BRYAN: Kubot and Marach, we respect them, too. They had us on the ropes at the French Open a couple years ago. We scraped out of that one. Yeah, they’re dangerous, as well.
020109 sunday/info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images