Displaying a spectacular lack of fortitude, Noah and Leconte went into the tank and didn't win another game. "I still don't know if that ball hit me," says Flach. "You ever have a serve just zip by your ear when you're at the net? You feel the breeze? It was like that."
Flach and Seguso faced a different type of trouble this year—an affair of the heart. They had gone into a protracted slump in 1986, when Seguso was hampered by an ailing knee, and a few months ago Seguso showed signs of disaffection. He began winking at other players. John McEnroe, of all people, was the corespondent in a recent Flach-and-Seguso separation. McEnroe and Seguso had agreed to pair up for the World Team Cup in Düsseldorf in May and for the French Open. Flach felt betrayed. Seguso and McEnroe entered the Team Cup (they played one match, which they lost to the Spanish duo of Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez), but when Mac lost in the first round at Roland Garros, he told Seguso he was heading home to watch the Lakers.
Now jilted himself, Seguso turned to Sweden's Anders Jarryd, who also was without a partner. Hours before the entry deadline, Seguso and Jarryd entered the doubles in Paris. Then McEnroe called Seguso and said, "O.K., I'll play." Seguso said something unprintable, and McEnroe said something even worse. Now for the socko ending: Jarryd and Seguso won the French Open after being down two sets to none in the finals to Noah and Guy Forget.
Figuring that McEnroe might be forever inconstant, Seguso phoned Flach and said, "Hey, got a date for Wimbledon?" Flach tells of his reaction in Dear Abby-ese: "He had dumped me. That had been brutal. I had to swallow my pride to play Wimbledon with him, but I said, 'O.K., I'll do this for the future.' I'm looking long term. I told him, 'McEnroe just couldn't be long term for you.' " Flach's decision paid short-term benefits, too. He and Seguso won Wimbledon, their first tournament victory in 15 months, overcoming a two-set deficit in the finals to defeat Casal and Sanchez 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Seguso now has three Grand Slam doubles titles, while Flach has four. (He also won the mixed doubles, with Kathy Jordan, at last year's French Open and Wimbledon.) That's a lot of major wins, but none of them has been more important to them than their six Davis Cup victories together. "Playing for your country makes every point seem far more significant," says Flach.
Their Cup streak, which began in 1985, has been a tenuous and harrowing one. In Hamburg that year, Flach and Seguso rallied to defeat Boris Becker and Andreas Maurer after Becker served for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set. The U.S. still lost the tie 3-2. Last year Flach and Seguso won early-round matches by overcoming the clay and the boisterous fans of Ecuador and Mexico. Then, while Seguso's bum knee was on the mend, Flach teamed with Paul Annacone to win a stirring five-setter—the only U.S. point—against Australia.
Earlier this year, Flach and Seguso again showed remarkable tenacity in coming back from two sets down to beat Victor Pecci and Francisco Gonzalez on the clay in Paraguay. The scene in Asuncion made West Germany, Ecuador and Mexico seem serene. The spectators beat drums, chanted obscenities, threw coins—one of which hit Flach in the head—screamed during points and prodded the linesmen into making a number of terrible calls against the U.S. "I just wanted to take a machine gun out and shoot every one of them," says Seguso. "It wouldn't have bothered me at all. I would have slept fine."
Paraguay upset the U.S. 3-2, and Spain beat West Germany by the same score on the same weekend. Those results set up the relegation-round tie against West Germany two weeks ago in Hartford. The loser would go into zonal play—and thus be ineligible to compete for the Cup—for at least next year. When McEnroe and Tim Mayotte lost the first two singles matches, Flach and Seguso found themselves in a must-win situation. They beat Eric Jelen and Ricki Osterthun in straight sets, but West Germany won the tie 3-2.
Whither Flach and Seguso after Hartford? "We're back together, I think," says Flach. "The Wimbledon matches were something new. We were professional yet intense. Maybe the separation was good for us. Maybe we just needed to get a little more mature."
That would be something, for maturity has never been their long suit. They have traded punches off the court, and on it Flach has dropped to his knees to scream in a linesman's face. Ah, but life changes, even for Flach and Seguso. Flach says that marrying cover-girl model Sandra Freeman last September has calmed him. Seguso's whirlwind courtship of tennis princess Carling Bassett has turned into an engagement (a Sept. 26 wedding is planned), and he, too, seems to be settling down.