By Steve Rivera –
Doubly Good Tennis
Bryans, Jensens Highlight Gootter Fundraiser
It’s the 10th anniversary of the Gootter Grand Slam Exhibition, so why not make it one to remember, right?
With that, in come the Bryan brothers (twins Bob and Mike) to face the Jensen Brothers (Luke and Murphy) for one of Southern Arizona’s best athletic exhibitions on the calendar. This from an event that last year brought Tracy Austin and Gigi Fernandez and once had former No. 1 Mats Wilander, Jimmy Arias, former Tucsonan Jim Grabb and a host of others.
“The Bryan brothers are the best doubles team right now and one of the best doubles teams in the history of tennis,” said Eric Styrmoe, who put together the tennis side of the event.
The Jensen brothers aren’t too shabby either. They were the Bryan brothers before the Bryan brothers were the Bryan brothers. They were chest-bumping and high-fiving before it was vogue more than 20 years ago. Professional tennis started to get its fun back when the Jensens stormed through the French Open in 1993.
The Jensens have been “kind of like role models” to the Bryans, who were just 15-years-old back then.
“They actually got that (chest bumping) from the Jensen brothers,” said Andrew Messing, president of the Steven M. Gootter Foundation. “When the Jensens were coming up in the 1980s (and 1990s), they were the wild Americans who won the French Open.”
“Grunge Tennis” was born. And so was having fun again on the tennis courts. Fast-forward to today and the Bryan brothers have amped it up with not only some exciting and competitive tennis but with neon-light fun.
More than 600 fans are expected to watch the event at La Paloma Country Club on Oct. 1.
“That’s (the kind of crowd) you get when you have the Bryan brothers,” said Styrmoe. “It should be a great show.”
It will be personality plus for everyone. The Jensens are hilarious, and then throw in their competitiveness along with the toughness and doggedness of the Bryans and, well, it’s going to be arguably the best tennis event the Gootter Foundation has ever put on.
“They’re going to have fun,” Styrmoe said. “It’s going to be a hoot.”
The Bryan brothers visit Tucson in the prime of their careers, coming in as the No. 1 doubles team and the all-time best doubles team in tennis. They’ve won Olympic medals (gold in 2012) and have won more professional matches and grand slams than any other duo. Winning comes regularly for the two.
“It’s great that they are making time in their busy schedule to come here,” said Messing. “It’s very difficult to get talent of their caliber who are still on the tour to come and do an exhibition.”
In addition to the fun and competitive tennis, there will be a VIP experience for 28 tennis enthusiasts wanting to hit against the Bryan and Jensen brothers. Various courts will also have numerous professionals ready to help instruct the tennis players with clinics.
“It’s a great sporting event for the community,” said Messing. “Phoenix wants these types of players. We’ve been lucky to get these players. You can tell by the caliber we’ve had is because we have a very good relationship with them.”
Gootter Grand Slam Tennis Exhibition
Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015
La Paloma Country Club – 3800 E. Sunrise Drive
Doors open at 5 p.m. Exhibition starts at 7 p.m.
Call (520) 615-6430 or visit Stevenmgootterfoundation.org