(Recasts with quotes, details)
By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan pulled off a feat on Saturday that has proved beyond tennis greats Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic as they won their fourth grand slam in a row to complete a “Golden Bryan Slam”.
By downing Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 to win the Wimbledon men’s doubles title, the 35-year-old identical twins became the first pair to hold all four grand slam titles at the same time since 1952.
In recent years, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all won three in a row in men’s singles but fell at the final hurdle.
But in their advancing years, the Bryans are getting better and better and they show no signs of slowing down after picking up grand slam trophy number 15.
“It’s hard to even dream that we’d have the slam, all four at one time,” said Mike, who also struck gold with his brother at last year’s London Olympics.
”It all started back after we won the gold. It just felt like a huge pressure was released. Went on to win the (U.S.) Open and had a great summer.
”This year we’ve been on an amazing year. Never had a streak like this. Especially at 35, I feel like we’re hitting our peak.
”I didn’t think anything could feel as sweet as the gold medal, but this one just feels like there’s a cap, a lid, or a ribbon around our career.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s something we never dreamed of, to try to win four in a row.”
Despite achieving the rare feat they now know the pressure will be on them to complete a ‘calendar slam’ when they turn up at Flushing Meadows in August.
“Now we got to try to suit back up for the calendar slam. I don’t even want to think about that,” grinned Mike.
His left-handed brother Bob added: ”The reason why we’ve been playing so well is because we have everything.
”Everything now feels like a bonus. It just feels like we’re adding nuts and whipped cream and cherries to our great career.
“If we retire today, we feel like we’ve done it all.”
Just how well the instincts of the right and left-handed duo work was all too apparent when they fought back strongly despite losing the first five games of the match to the Croatian/Brazilian pairing.
The top seeds got the measure of their 12th-seeded opponents through the telepathic understanding which has brought them 91 career doubles titles.
They made the decisive break in the ninth game of the fourth set and Bob Bryan served out for victory which he sealed with an ace, prompting a trademark chest-pump by the brothers.
Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman are the only men’s doubles team to have held all four titles at once, winning seven successive majors from the 1951 Australian Open to 1952 Wimbledon. (Editing by Ed Osmond)