"It was a 'weird feeling' to win without him...It's definitely a shot at a title when you suit up with Jack Sock", Mike Bryan emphasized after being victorious over their opponents Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus in a turbulent five-setter championship match of 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
This was an accidental surprise for both Bryan and Sock when they teamed together because of a hip injury Bob Bryan sustained at the French Open in May. Everything was looking bleak for both Bob who couldn't play and Mike who didn't want to continue on without his twin and constant doubles partner who'd win 76 consecutive major tournaments together.
It seemed as both their careers were up in limbo but there was optimism when Mike Bryan said: "I want to stay sharp just in case he comes back". He decided to team up with Jack Sock to see what would happen. Sock hadn't had a doubles title or crown since he paired with Steve Johnson at the 2015 Rio Games in Brazil at the Olympics to win a bronze medal.
Jack Sock's singles had become dodgy and he would lose the opening round at Wimbledon opposite Italy's Matteo Berrettini in a struggling 5-setter, leaving him available to concentrate his energies into helping Bryan in doubles.
It is ironic that Sock's last title on tour came four years ago at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships when he partnered at the last minute with Canada's Vasek Pospisil and won doubles in five sets against who else but Bob and Mike Bryan.
There was plenty of work to do as the combo combined their talents to stay focused and determined in winning over their South Africa/New Zealand opponents. Bryan well knowing the skills of Sock from being over the net with him years ago.
The one-time partnership worked out well but naturally, Bryan was a bit melancholy about his twin not being there and says "The tour misses him. He's a legend and icon in tennis". It might have been a bittersweet title but Mike is realistic and optimistic saying "It feels like we're getting better every match...we're starting to jell.
If Bob can't come back we'll play this summer". All have come out well and Mike has gotten his title along with Jack Sock who never really thought he'd win over someone who was over the net with before, but it works and maybe it will continue this summer.
It's all good for now.