The tennis pro siblings, Bob and Mike Bryan, announced they plan to retire from the sport after the 2020 season

By Benjamin VanHoose
November 14, 2019 10:56 AM
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Identical twin tennis stars Mike and Bob Bryan plan to step away from the sport that has been the focus of more than half of their lives.

The 42-year-old pros — currently the winningest men’s doubles team of the Open Era with 118 career titles — broke the news Wednesday, naming the 2020 U.S. Open as their last tournament.

“We took the last few months off to try and get our minds right and get our bodies and minds fresh and make this decision,” Mike told USOpen.org. “We feel it’s the right time. It’s just a perfect time to go. We feel like we can still be competitive and win, but at 42, we’re really appreciative of getting so much longevity out of our careers.”

He added: “We feel like you can’t play forever, so we just wanted to make the decision and go into next year knowing that we can see the finish line and play as hard as we can, but also appreciate being on tour, playing together and giving back to the fans a little bit.”

Credit: John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Bob addressed the tennis community via Twitter on Wednesday, writing that he dedicates the upcoming season to “all those who have shared this journey with us.”

“Whether you root for us or against us,” he continued, “we are grateful for your passion in the sport that has given us so much. We’ll always do our best to return this love. Thank you for letting us live out our dream. 🙏❤️”

The Olympic gold medalists are looking forward to “hanging up their sneakers” at the New York City tournament this summer.

“There’s just been so many great moments and excitement and energy and chestbumps. It’s the granddaddy of all Slams now,” Mike said. “That’s the place where we’re going to be very happy to say our goodbyes. It’s been a great 25 years at the Open. It’s been awesome.”

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan
| Credit: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty

Mike went on to say he doesn’t think they would have carried their careers this far had they not had each other to lean on.

“When you get to share this whole experience and your life — more than half of our lives have been on tour — to be able to do it with someone you’re close with and someone you have such a tight bond with … Doing it with him is like doing it with a piece of you,” he said in the interview. “I don’t think we’d be doing it for as long as we have if we didn’t have our best friend right next to us.”

Last year, their longtime partnership was forced to take a year off, as Bob underwent hip-resurfacing surgery in August 2018. Earlier this year, the brothers told PEOPLE about aging in tennis and how they’ve seen the sport evolve.

“It’s not getting easier, especially when you get older,” said Mike at the time. “You have to take care of your bodies all day. You have to have the right diet, to take the right supplements. You have trainers helping you.”

He added: “We’ve spanned a lot of generations. We’ve played against like [Andre] Agassi and [Borris] Becker, and all these guys and now we’re playing against guys half our age.”

The key to the teammates’ success and longevity is communication, according to Bob, who previously told PEOPLE they share “the ultimate communication being twins.”

“I think a good day, it keeps us going as we have an unbreakable bond,” Mike said. “It’s much more satisfying to win with this guy, my best friend — been with him since day one.”