December 10, 2011

10 Questions With 2012 Distinguished Gaucho Wayne Bryan

Legendary tennis player, coach and ambassador, father of the greatest doubles team in history, and former UC Santa Barbara men's tennis player Wayne Bryan will receive the 2012 Distinguished Gaucho Award at a Feb. 18, 2012 dinner in his honor. 
This Gaucho Fund Event is open to the public and will begin at 6:00 pm in UCSB's Corwin Pavilion.  Included in the program will be a performance by Wayne's band, The Inside Group.
For information or to purchase tickets, please contact Christina Baglas at 805-893-5372 or Christina.Baglas@athletics.ucsb.edu.  Proceeds from the event benefit UCSB men's and women's tennis and the SB Tennis Patrons.
In anticipation of the event, Coach Bryan agreed to answer 10 Questions for UCSBgauchos.com.
  1. What is your fondest memory of your time at UCSB.  

"Wow.  It's impossible to say.  I had so, so many wonderful times there at UCSB – the greatest place you could possibly hope to go to school – such a picturesque campus and fabulous institution of learning.  I had four wonderful years playing on the tennis team and a highlight certainly was beating Cal –  for the first time, I think,  in the history of UCSB athletics.  I had terrific teammates in Don Neal,  Jerry Hatchett, Ted Campbell, George Todd, Irwin Bledstein, Ron  Willens, Dave Grokenberger, Eric Lewis and Jamie Miller.  Made so many life long friends there – Captains of the Football Team, Mike Warren – what a leader he was of the team and also my Fraternity – and my roommates and also football stars, Mike Cobb and Jimmy  Olson.  I learned so much my from my teammates and my friends there at Santa Barbara.  Had so many incredible social functions with my SAE Fraternity Brothers and always with music wafting throughout IV – the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Stones, the Doors, the Temptations, and the Four Tops. Enjoyed getting to know so many other athletes on campus and going to their football and basketball and volleyball and soccer and baseball games.   And, of course, I got so much out of my classroom experiences there.  I became a history major because of Professor Felice Bonadio -– amazing charisma and every lecture he gave just rocked and he brought history to life.  Donn Bernstein, the legendary SID there and the patron saint of our fraternity, had a profound influence on me, as did my Freshman Tennis Coach Bob Leck.  I am also thankful and appreciative to my Head Coach, the late Ed Doty. I am very proud to have graduated from UCSB and that experience has enhanced my life profoundly and forever . .  ."

2.  In all your years in the tennis community/industry, what would you
consider to be your greatest achievement.  

"Mike and Bob Bryan. I am also proud to have been named the USPTR Coach of the Year; the USPTA Coach of the Year for SoCal, the Wilson National Coach of the Year; World Team Tennis Coach of the Year - 3xs and  leading  the Sacramento Caps to the  World Team Tennis Championship  twice; and having my Cabrillo  Racquet Club in Camarillo  named the Club of the Year and the  Bryans being named Family  of the Year by the USTA.  My greatest blessings are my family and friends."

3.  You've been promoting and teaching tennis ever since you were an undergraduate at UCSB.   

"Yes, amazingly I actually started teaching tennis when I was in High School and I'm still doing it at my young age of 64.  That's 48 years of teaching the great game and helping others play and enjoy it.  Tennis is the best sport you can play and it
brings people together and to my way of thinking is a great force for world peace."

How many clinics, lessons and exhibitions do you think you've conducted over the years?  

"Several thousand."

4.  How many kids have you introduced to our sport?  

"Tens of thousands."

5.  We still here stories about your band in IV back in the 60's and I know
you are still playing music.   What was the name of your IV band and are you
still playing with the same guys/girls?  

"I've had all kinds of names for my bands:  The Albondigas; the Humdoodlewadas; the Inside Group; the Wayne Bryan Band; and now the Bryan Bros. Band.  Like with tennis,I've been blessed to play  with lots and lots of wonderful musicians and friends through the  years – The guys I've played the  longest with are:  John McCampbell, Andy Di, and Jimmy Wolff.  We've played over 1800 gigs together over the past 30 years and they are all like brothers to me.  In the band I play in with Mike and Bob currently (the Bryan Bros. Band) – we have Counting Crows drummer Jim Bogios, American Idol star Michael Johns, and Grammy nominated singer/songerwriter, James Slater from Nashville – musical monsters one and all."

6.  What's more satisfying, hitting a perfect backhand volley or a perfect
cord?

"I love tennis and music equally . . . so I would say both.   Mike and Bob feel the same."

7.  You've traveled the world promoting tennis and coaching.  What's your
favorite city and/or tennis tournament?  

"My favorite cities are Carmel, Charlotte, and Austin.  My favorite areas are the redwoods and I love meandering rivers and streams to canoe.  I also enjoy hiking.  And I am always moved to visit historical sites like Gettysburg and Antietam and Waterloo and Pompei.  And I have been fascinated by the sights in big and historical cities like Rome and Paris and London and New York and Washington DC and Boston and Philadelphia. My favorite tournament?  I love 'em all – of course, all the Grand Slams – Wimbledon, the US Open, the Australian Open and Roland Garros, but I enjoy working LA and Washington DC and Houston and all of them really.  Each one is unique.  Each one has its own culture and its own beauty. And all the fans always treat us so warmly and with so much enthusiasm."

8.  I've heard that professional doubles was at risk of being dropped from
the ATP Tour in the 90's.   Is this true?  

"Well, proud to say the Bryan family led the long and hard charge to head off that lunacy and doubles is alive and well and taking its rightful place in tennis.  It's a more complex and interesting game than singles.  Singles is checkers while doubles is chess. Doubles requires masterful volleying to go along with great serving and returning.  It rounds out tennis skills and teaches a whole set of additional life lessons.  People like that team thing. Fans love doubles when it is put on show courts in prime time and well promoted.   Fans are clamoring for more doubles on TV.  College doubles always kicks off a match and the fans go nuts.  Three of the five World Team Tennis events are doubles and they always have everyone going nuts. Go take in a Davis Cup Doubles Match in the US on Saturday with the rockin' Bryan Bros. out there and see how everyone is rooting and raucous.   A tip of the tennis hat to Mike and Bob Bryan for all they have done to popularize doubles worldwide."


9. What direction do you think the future of American tennis will go?  

"Tennis continues to grow and gain in popularity.  It's great exercise.  It's athletic
and challenging – mentally, physically, emotionally.  It's fun.  Size is not a handicap.  You can play your whole life.  Men and Women can play together. Very, very few injuries.  Sportsmanship is an integral part of the game.  It's played in every country of the world.  It teaches wonderful life lessons.  It is truly the most international of all sports.  Most every country in the world has pro players and hosts a pro tournament now. Because tennis is such a global sport now, every country has players in the top 100.  No country will dominate the rankings like the US and Australia did back in the day – and that is a good thing.  But the US will always have 10 in the top 100 and if we want even more the key is to build the base.  More Junior Team Tennis at younger ages.  The more we bring out the wonderful team aspects of our sport, the more it will grow."  

10.  Marty Davis speculates that playing doubles with David Grokenberger
must have been the toughest thing you've ever had to do.  True?

"Yes, it was.  Without a doubt."

 

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