Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan celebrate a point during the 2003 U.S. Open.
Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan celebrate a point during the 2003 U.S. Open. Getty Images
Since January, the Ultimate NPR Workout Mix has been highlighting music that makes listeners move.
The Bryan brothers are identical twins who make up the No. 1 doubles team in the world, a standing they've held longer than anyone else in tennis history.
We caught up with the Bryans after a recent match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. At that tournament and many others, including Wimbledon, the Bryans play not only on the court, but also in their own band.
Bob, the younger brother by two minutes, plays keyboards and bass in the Bryan Bros Band, while Mike plays drums.
"We've been playing music together since we were 6 years old and tennis since the same, so we're pretty much on the same page when we're out there," Mike says. "We can read each other pretty well. When he takes up the tempo, takes up the dynamics, I'm right there with him — and same on the court."
Bob says that, whether playing tennis or music, it's important not to overthink it — it's more crucial to relax.
"If you're thinking about technique and shot production and strokes, usually it breaks down," Bob says. "Same thing if you're thinking about chords — you're not grooving as much."
So what music helps the Bryan brothers get in the groove? U2 is a big influence for their band, so it's no surprise that their first pick is "Sunday, Bloody Sunday." Another favorite is Coldplay's "Paradise," followed by their top pick, "#41" by Dave Matthews Band.
"We had that CD in our racquet bags, and we'd always play it on our way to the courts," Bob says. "I have no idea what the lyrics mean, but it's an absolute groove and one of our all-time favorite bands."