WIMBLEDON, England — Mike Bryan didn't plan a celebratory move after he and twin brother Bob won the Olympic gold medal in tennis doubles Saturday on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
But he liked the spontaneous leap into Bob's arms after defeating Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 7-6 (2).
"We've never hugged for so long," said Bob, who with his brother played at Stanford from 1996-98.
The top-seeded team has won 11 Grand Slam doubles titles. Along the way they have been arguably the best doubles pair of their generation. But they take the whole notion of representing their country to another level.
"We're a different team when we're playing for the flag," Bob Bryan said.
After spending months on the world tour they welcomed the team camaraderie of the London Games.
Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau of France won the bronze medal by defeating David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-6 (4), 6-2.
The Bryans came to the Summer Olympics struggling this year. They had lost in the semifinals at Wimbledon. They were not exactly oozing confidence on the lawn.
"The magic is on our side now," Mike Bryan said just before returning to the court for a mixed doubles match. "We saved it for this one. It's something to add 'Golden' in front of "Slam.' "
Like Serena Williams about 2 hours earlier, the identical twins earned a "Golden Slam" that signifies winning the four major tournament titles and
It's easy to understand the Bryans' excitement. Although they have a phenomenal career few sports fans pay much attention to doubles. Their specialty is full of grace and drama but has been relegated to an afterthought on the world tennis tour.
The twins always have been graceful in accepting their lot.
They should get noticed if for nothing else than how they ended victorious Saturday in the second set tiebreaker. It began when Tsonga blasted a volley at the net that appeared headed for an easy winner.
Something overcame Bob Bryan who suddenly chased it down. Any other match he'd have let it go because the Americans led the tiebreaker 6-2 at the time.
"I'm 34 and I still think I can get there," said Bob, who tracked the ball to the corner and blindly hit it back with an over-the-head defensive lob.
The ball remained inbounds to prolong the match. It ended a few shots later when Llodra couldn't handle Mike Bryan's baseline backhand.
The instantaneous celebration by the Bryans continued with texts and calls from friends.
"People we haven't talked to in 10 years are calling us," Bob Bryan said less than 30 minutes after their victory.
They weren't complaining. The Bryans were overjoyed by the quick response after finishing third in Beijing four years ago.
To underscore how much it meant, Bob Bryan said he planned to wear the gold medal until returning to the United States in the coming days.
How would he get it through airport security?
"I think they will understand," Bob said.