In Wheaton, the Gullikson living room shook with shouting. "I've never played a point like that," Tim says. "I've never seen a rally like that."
Sampras has said often that the way to help Gullikson get well is to win. Still, watching it at home, Tim was surprised when the camera cut to Sampras as he sat in his chair just after Sunday's final point, and he looked at it out of the corner of his eye and said, "That's for you, Timmy." Twenty minutes later, the phone rang in Wheaton.
"Did you hear that?" Sampras asked.
"Oh, yeah," Tim said. "We heard it."
It is late, 5:05 p.m. on Friday, and Monica Seles has long since disposed of Conchita Martínez in the semis. She is being led to a room under the stands when she notices light coming from up the tunnel; suddenly she bolts from the group, out to the stadium court. Storm clouds scud overhead, and the place is empty and huge, and the seats escalate to the sky. She stands for 10 seconds, staring. "I just wanted to see it with the lights," she says softly. "It's beautiful."
This, Seles says later, was her mission for the Open. She wanted to gather every smell and sound and feeling into a package and take it with her. So there was a trip to Barney's to buy hats and the presenting of an MTV award and the night she painted her fingernails five different colors and standing on the sidelines at a Monday Night Football game. There was the moment just after her first match back at a Grand Slam event ended and she went over to a crowd of kids in the stands and turned her back to a crowd of strangers and flung a towel high over her head.
"I just wanted to do that, to feel that," Seles says. "I wanted to take some memories back. Like in 10 years from now, I can say, This is what I felt I don't have that from '91 or '92."
No, when she won the Open those years, Seles went away full of tennis and nothing else. She spoke often of this year's Open as something "fun" and giggled through every press conference. But it is easy to mistake Seles's laughter for joy, rather than the nervous tic that it is, and there were moments, even in New York, even during matches, where memories of the stabbing flashed through her mind. "A few times they come," Seles says. "But I know I have the next point, and I know if I miss that next point, I get mad at myself. I tell myself, O.K., O.K., just forget it. The tennis helps."
But only when you're ready for it. Later that Friday night, Seles's closest friend from her old days on the tour, Jennifer Capriati, ends a long absence from tennis by appearing at a dinner for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She looks thinner, happier than in the aftermath of that infamous night in May 1994 when she was arrested for possession of marijuana, and doesn't blanch when Chris Evert, onstage, says into a microphone, "Jennifer...I just want you to know. We miss you, and we want to see you back, babe. It's great for the game." Applause fills the room. A spotlight falls on Capriati.
Seles and Capriati have tried reaching each other but haven't connected. Seles thinks she could help ease Capriati's return. But "Jennifer has to feel that for her own self," Seles says. "Otherwise she's coming back for somebody else, and that's doing the same thing she tried to escape from."