BROTHERLY ADVICE: BOB BRYAN

The Associated Press Published:

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh are hardly the only high-profile siblings who've squared off in their arena of expertise. The AP is asking some others who can relate how to handle going against a family member in the Super Bowl.

Tennis player Bob Bryan and twin brother Mike are the world's best doubles team, having won a record 13th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last weekend. Their 20-2 record going into this weekend's Davis Cup matches against Brazil are the best of any U.S. doubles team in the 100-plus year history of the event.

When they were younger, however, the Bryans played singles and often found themselves facing each other in the finals of a tournament.

"We would flip a coin for the match," Bob Bryan said before he and Mike were to take the court in Jacksonville, Fla., for Davis Cup play against Brazil. "(Our parents) didn't want us to become rivals or be competitive against each other, which actually worked out great. We had all our trophies in the same trophy case and shared victories together.

"With both sons in the final (our parents) could sit back, get some lemonade and enjoy the match. There was no pressure on them because the family had pretty much taken home all the hardware," he added. "I saw an interview with the Harbaughs' parents and got the same sense. You could see there was no pressure or stress on their face. They felt like they've already won."

But Bob Bryan said he wouldn't want to be in John or Jim Harbaugh's spot this weekend. When he and his brother played each other, it was impossible to muster the cutthroat attitude athletes need.

"You don't have that killer instinct against that family member," he said.

In fact, playing WITH his brother has made their success that much more rewarding.

"Really, the reason we pulled the plug on singles so early is because we didn't get nearly the same amount of joy from winning," Bob Bryan said. "Now, when we're winning tournaments, we get to talk about it together forever. For the rest of our lives."

-- Nancy Armour -- http://www.twitter.com/nrarmour

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