Eight months ago, Bob Bryan’s future on the ATP Tour appeared in jeopardy when he underwent right hip replacement surgery. Nobody had come back from such an operation before. But three months into his comeback, on Saturday, Bob and twin Mike Bryan won the Miami Open presented by Itau.
Even Roger Federer has taken notice. When asked about the 40-year-old lefty after winning his own title in Miami on Sunday, the Swiss had nothing but praise for Bob.
“What Bob is doing is definitely I think inspiring for a lot of the players, even if it's just doubles in the sense that it's not as physical as the singles,” Federer said. “Nevertheless, he's not just playing a little bit; he's winning, and that is just beautiful to watch. I'm really happy for him.”
While the Bryan brothers have captured 118 tour-level doubles titles as a team, in singles, Bob climbed as high as No. 116 in the ATP Rankings in 2000. At 2001 Marseille, he actually played Federer in singles, falling short in a straight-sets defeat. Federer first competed in the Miami main draw in 1999. The only player from that draw who is still active: Bob Bryan.
“We go way back with Bob,” Federer said. “It's great when they come back. I'm sure also Bob is a big inspiration for [Andy] Murray to come back. I hope that's going to help Andy maybe finding a way back.”
Former World No. 1 Murray underwent the same surgery as Bryan after the Australian Open. Serbian Nenad Zimonjic returned from double hip replacement in February at the Sofia Open, and he is seeking the first match win of his own comeback.
“A doctor was cutting me open eight months ago and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it back on court,” said Bob. “To win this title is a dream and certainly wasn’t possible eight months ago. This is huge for us.”
While many have been impressed by Bob’s efforts, the journey hits nobody closer to home than Mike. The right-handed Bryan, playing with Jack Sock, won Wimbledon, the US Open and the Nitto ATP Finals last year. But there was never a doubt that he would join forces with his brother once again, when Bob was ready.
“Bob’s been through a lot on the couch. To have him back at full strength and winning here in Miami, [our] hometown, with all the friends and family support is unreal,” said Mike. “This is a special event for us and to defend it is amazing.”