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Sat, March 23

Column: Interview with a legend cont'

Howard: Can you give us a breakdown of all the different hats you wear and have worn in the reaching this point in your life?

Bryan: I've been a student body president of both my junior high and high school, an Eagle Scout and the captain of every football or tennis team I've ever been on.

I attended UC-Santa Barbara on a tennis scholarship then attended Loyola Law School and passed the California Bar Exam.

I've owned, managed and been the head pro of a tennis club for 26 years. I've given hundreds of speeches all over the country for Wilson, Prince, Adidas, the USTA, USPTA, USPTR, WTT and the ATP.

Howard: What do you enjoy doing most in the world of tennis ?

Bryan: I really like all levels of tennis and all aspects of tennis. Playing, coaching, emceeing, administering, and watching.

My other joys in life are family, playing music with my band, hiking and getting out in places like Big Sur and Zion and the coastal redwoods. I also like to canoe on rivers especially in the South and in Florida.

Howard: Is there more you'd like to accomplish with your music?

Bryan: Geez. I've done it all with my music, played some 1,800 gigs as best I can guess.

I've loved the guys I've played with in my band through the years and we've had some rockin' fun gigs.

I enjoy watching the Bryan Bros. Band progress and their new album is incredible and now available on ITunes and Amazon. Their CD is called Let It Rip.

Howard: We know you're married, but give us the low-down on Mrs. Bryan and what part she plays in Wayne's world.

Bryan: She is so loyal and so helpful and hardworking and organized.

She was a very fine pro player and is a great coach.

She was right beside me working the club and coaching all our juniors. And she did as much for and with Mike and Bob as I did.

She is a great mom and wife and friend. Now she loves riding her beautiful Arabian horse called Elan each day in the Malibu Mountains.

She played a huge role in my book as well. When I'm off the road we enjoy hikes, dinners, movies and watching the Lakers and USC football and sweating out the brothers' matches on TV or on the computer scoreboard.

She is a great person and the reason for any success that I have and the success that the twins have.

Howard: What's been your best tennis moment?

Bryan: So, so many. Probably the first was my dad and I beating Pancho Gonzales and his son at the SoCal Father and Son Championships at the venerable LA Tennis Club.

Going on to play No. 1 for UCSB.

The brothers winning their first gold ball - I think they have well over 40 now. Their winning Kalamazoo for the first time.

Them winning the US Open Junior Doubles, the NCAA Team Title at Stanford their first two years and Bob winning the singles and them winning the doubles their sophomore year before they turned pro.

Also, them winning their first Grand Slam doubles at the French. them playing and winning their first Davis Cup Match for the United States and them winning their first US Open and their first Wimbledon.

Number 1 of all time has got to be their winning the Davis Cup for the US versus Russia in December 2007.

They clinched in their doubles match and were undefeated that year.

The tears were just streaming down my face as I sat there and took that beautiful scene in.

Howard: What's been your worst tennis moment?

Bryan: The brothers losing their first Wimbledon final.

You think that might have been their one and only chance, but they won it the next year.

Howard: Surely you have many goals you'd still like to accomplish, can you share any of those thoughts?

Bryan: Geez. This sounds crazy, but I've done all I've ever dreamed with my tennis.

Now my goals are to help the sport.

- I want to dramatically cut back the number of foreign players playing tennis in American colleges.

College tennis should not be a world-class sport. It should be for our kids. U.S. parents pay all those taxes and the foreign players are sucking up all the scholarships.

- I want to change our basic tennis DNA from the half hour private lesson to vans full of juniors going with moms and dads to college matches, pro matches, OCS matches, and WTT matches.

And I want vans and SUVs full of juniors going to JTT Matches

- I want the USTA working the bottom of the pyramid or the grass roots rather than putting millions of dollars into polishing the pole of working with just a handful of the top players.

- I want to help fund raise for high school and college teams.

Howard: Do you still have the competitive juices to compete in USTA senior events as a player?

Bryan: I stopped competing myself at 37. I was No.2 in the SoCal 35s and No.1 in doubles and also had national rankings.

At that time I devoted myself to all my players and Mike and Bob. It was very traumatic for me to give up my tennis at the time, but am glad I did and now I really love coaching and emceeing as much as I loved playing.

Howard: What does life after tennis mean to you; and when you're boys retire from the Tour, will you continue to keep doing what you're doing?

Bryan: I think I'd like to sorta slow down and sorta retire when the brothers do. I would say that is about 5 to 7 years away. Although, I must say, I really love my work and am passionate about the great game of tennis and what it can do for people.

Maybe I'll do tennis gigs as long as people want me to do 'em.


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