|ESPN.com: French Open 2012||[Print without images]|
|The Bryan brothers are bound to make history.|
PARIS -- The main event, the women's singles final, was over and Mike and Bob Bryan were left, as usual, to clean up after the elephants.
Sparkling Monica Seles, who awarded the trophy to Maria Sharapova, was long gone. The risers had been dismantled and dragged off Court Philippe Chatrier. The red clay was smoothed -- but not watered -- for it was already raining.
Tennis has enough difficulty attracting attention in a sports market clogged with far more popular team sports. The 33-year-old twins from California were playing Saturday at Roland Garros in their record 21st Grand Slam doubles final, but the European soccer championship is already underway in Poland and Ukraine. The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics were preparing for their Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals. Baseball playoff races are starting to emerge. And Sunday, No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal will play a men's final charged with all kinds of historic possibility.
Doubles? Well, there were about 3,000 people left around Chatrier for the final and the French Tennis Federation box was nearly deserted, save for a handful of dignitaries, including U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier.
Still, in their own, modest way, the Bryans found themselves on the cusp of history, too.
After losing to the No. 1-seeded team of Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor 6-4, 6-4, they're still there standing at the brink. They will try again for their 12th major doubles title at Wimbledon in an attempt to break their year-long tie with Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde for the most in the Open era.
Bob Bryan put it best when he stated that they have to get back on the horse.
"Every [loss] stings, you know," he said. "We're not gonna be cheery tonight, that's for sure. It's definitely gonna make us work a lot harder on the grass. The great thing about tennis, there's always another title to win and there's two huge events coming up. We'll be hungry for those.
Mirnyi and Nestor, who took the top ranking from the Bryans in May, proved they are the best team at the moment. They began their partnership a year ago, winning the French Open in only their second Grand Slam event together. Nestor, at 39 years, 8 months, is the oldest player ever to be ranked No. 1.
The Bryans, the winningest doubles team in the Open era, have won 78 titles and entered this event with a nine-match winning streak. They're headed to London, where they'll train on the grass at Queen's Club, where they are honorary members.