"Unless you have the confidence that your partner's not going to be looking around for someone else after a heartbreak loss. I mean, that's what we have. We have that loyalty that no matter how bad I return during a stretch, I know he's not going to be talking to (Daniel) Nestor, or texting Nestor," a 40-year-old Canadian doubles specialist.
Indeed, the twins have been through it all together.
When they were kids, their parents forbade them from playing singles against each other, forcing them to take turns defaulting to each other when they were matched up. Bob was the top-ranked player in U.S. boys' 18s in 1996. In 1998, he won the NCAA singles, doubles (with his brother) and team titles at Stanford.
"I slept with that trophy," Bob Bryan said. "I asked coach, 'Can I have it for one night?' It couldn't get any sweeter than that."
But really, it could.
Deciding their future was brightest as a doubles team, Bob largely gave up singles to focus on the partnership. Last year, the Bryans added an Olympic gold medal to their stash. One more victory at the All England Club would make it a Golden Slam — all four Grand Slam titles plus the Olympics.
They key to it all, says Mike, is "you've got to like your partner, first."
And they do, on and off the tennis court. The do their trademark chest bump after winning a particularly good point, or a match — and they have won 23 in a row. On occasion, they play in a band named after themselves that, according to their website, "jams at tour stops, clubs, and charity events as they travel around the world."
"It's great to be on equal footing," Mike said. "You don't want to be coached by someone. You've got to be pumping up your partner, making your partner better."
The long-term goal for the Bryans is to stick around through the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, though it gets harder as the years go by — not only physically, but logistically, as well. Mike recently got married. And Bob's wife, Michelle, is pregnant with the couple's second child. Their first, 17-month-old Micaela, has a Twitter account with nearly 11,000 followers. (Bob swears she types in the tweets herself.)
"A lot of players are usually on their way out of the game when they have that second kid," Bob said. "We'll give it our best shot."
Almost every time they step onto the court, they will be both the favorite and an undercard. They accept both fates with equal enthusiasm.
"As an athlete, you've got to cherish those moments," Mike said. "We're on the road and you can get mentally tired of those moments when you're playing week in, week out ... having guys gun for you because you're the No. 1 team. But then you go home and you realize you need that adrenaline rush, and you're itching to get back out there."