(Tina Birch/Daily News Staff Photographer)
Can’t really put into words how neat it was to see a bunch of kids who just got out of school gather in the center park of Oxnard — kids benefitting from the City Impact organization (linked here), a non-profit that helps at-risk families in Ventura County — and get to meet and receive autographs from Mike and Bob Bryan during a ceremony in Oxnard on Friday.
Talk about some hometown heroes.
(I also finally figured out how to tell the two apart — Bob, on the left, above, always wears the brown necklace. And he wears his watch on his right arm, because he’s left-handed. Mike, as you can see, wears the watch on the left arm because he’s a righty … just so you know).
The city wanted to honor the Camarillo-based Bryan brothers for their new philanthropic endeavor — the Bryan Brothers Foundation (find it at this link), which starts with a fundraiser Saturday at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks during a day-long pro-am tennis tournament and dinner/silent auction. Andre Agassi is the main attraction. We have a story about it in Saturday’s Daily News (linked here).
Wayne Bryan, the 30-year-old twin’s dad, said the two put in $100,000 of their own money to launch the foundation.
The other news to come out of the event was that Bob, whose left shoulder is ailing from tendinitis and a slight tear, still needs three more weeks of rest before he can even consider practicing again.
The two plan to play in a masters event in Spain later this month, but perhaps that won’t include Bob.
He explained how he had to endure through the pain just to get the recent men’s doubles title wrapped up at the U.S. Open in New York.
“I knew I was in trouble during the Olympics,” said Bob, referring to the Beijing Games, when the pair ended up taking the bronze medal for the U.S. “I had to take a coritzone shot two days before (the Open), some anti-inflamatories, and then I played 10 straight days without practice just to get through. My doctor said I shouldn’t have played. By the time it was over, I couldn’t lift my left arm.”
Which isn’t good, since Bob, again, is a lefty.
He thinks there will be plenty of time for him to prepare for their next Grand Slam event — the Australian Open in January. The two from Rio Mesa High have already won a career grand slam on their resume.
The dinner for Saturday’s event is sold out, but tickets remain for the pro-am and exhibition from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More on the brothers:
==The Ventura County Star story on Friday’s event (linked here)