Frank Sedgman, one of the all-time greats of Australian tennis, was just waking up at his home in Melbourne yesterday when he received a text from his daughter to let him know that his 62-year-old record was still intact.
It was in 1951 that Sedgman and his partner, Ken McGregor, became the only pair in history to win all four men’s Grand Slam doubles titles in the same calendar year.
Their record was under threat from Bob and Mike Bryan, who had won at Melbourne, Paris and Wimbledon earlier this year, but the twins fell at the penultimate hurdle here when they were beaten 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 by India’s Leander Paes and the Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek. Paes and Stepanek will meet Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in tomorrow’s final.
Sedgman, whose doubles partner died six years ago, also won five Grand Slam singles titles and three consecutive Davis Cups. The 85-year-old was not sure whether the news of the Bryans’ defeats was a relief but said he liked seeing doubles enjoy a higher profile. He also paid tribute to the Americans. “Obviously they will go down as one of the best ever doubles pairings,” Sedgman said. “I really thought they had a good chance to break it.”
The Bryans had already become the first pair since Sedgman and McGregor to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, having embarked on a 28-match winning run in Grand Slam matches at last year’s US Open.
The 35-year-old twins have won a total of 15 Grand Slam titles in their illustrious careers.
“We hate to lose and we knew what was riding on this match and the opportunity of what we could have accomplished,” Bob Bryan said. “In one sense, it’s a bit of a relief, where you get to exhale for the first time in a few months.”