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Jack Nicklaus is a fan of the Bryan brothers

June 30, 2011 | 10:50 am

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Jack Nicklaus was back at Wimbledon on Thursday, and it wasn’t to sit in the Royal Box, as he did Wednesday, watching Roger Federer lose to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.


At 11 a.m. when Bob and Mike Bryan, the twins from Camarillo who are the top-ranked doubles team, were warming up for their quarterfinal match Thursday, Nicklaus was watching. According to the Bryans, Nicklaus is a huge fan of tennis and, in particular, doubles.


Bob said Nicklaus was on hand for every warmup ball the twins hit. “It was pretty funny,” Bob said. “The crowd was trying to figure out who he was.


“We’ve been at his house, he has three grass courts, lit. He’s got a crew out there rolling them, cutting them, lining them … and he’s got putting greens, two yachts right on the back of the house, a museum of animals.”


Mike said Nicklaus has tennis skill. “He’s a great serve and volleyer,” Mike said. “I wouldn’t say he’s got blazing speed. But he’s got good hands.”

The brothers said they met Nicklaus through a contact on Fishers Island in Florida. “We play with Jack once a year,” Mike said. “He’s got a doubles tournament, he’s got a trophy with a huge bear claw or something holding two tennis balls.”


Bob said Nicklaus even stayed an extra day at Wimbledon so he could watch the twins win Thursday. “He’s on his way to Moscow,” Bob said. “He pushed his trip back. He goes around the world building golf courses, has his own jet. He’s got 12 of his buddies here with him, they’ve all got beds on the plane, they don’t have to stop and refuel.”


The twins haven’t played golf with Nicklaus. “He doesn’t like to play golf anymore,” Bob said. “We gave him a racket after the Miami tournament [last year] and he was asking, ‘What do you string it at, why is it stiffer,' about the grommets and stuff. It was pretty funny.”


Oh, and the top-seeded Bryans won their quarterfinal match, beating defending Wimbledon champions, fifth-seeded Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

ALSO:

Maria Sharapova advances to Wimbledon final

Has Roger Federer won his last Grand Slam tennis tournament?

-- Diane Pucin, reporting from Wimbledon, England

Photo: Jack Nicklaus. Credit: Julian Finney / Getty Images.

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