Back in the U.S., it was time to defend the Davis Cup, and suddenly I acquired all the aches and pains associated with flu. After this ordeal, I got just what was needed to clear the whole thing up—a toothache. The dentist who removed the tooth explained that a toxic abscess had been poisoning my whole system, and had caused all the other ailments which had been going on for the better part of a year. Three days after the extraction, my health problem was licked.
At last, it was Forest Hills. I had the three championships under my belt, and I really wanted that fourth one.
During the night just before the final match was scheduled I had insomnia for the first time in my life. I thought about all that had led up to this moment, and how I'd concentrated every ounce of energy on this one goal.
Next day it rained.
It rained the day after, and the day after that. Naturally, my tension built with the delays. It rained and rained for six seemingly endless days. Each day I had to try to key myself up and then force myself to relax when the match was postponed.
Finally, in the stadium against Gene Mako, I won the first set 6-3. Gene, always a threat, came on strong in the second set and took it 8-6 (the only set I lost in a championship final that year). The next two I won 6-2, 6-1. The goal I'd been striving for was mine. It was over almost before I knew it. After the presentation, I phoned my mother in Oakland and said, "Hey, Ma, I won!"
I hope Rod will be able to say the same—at least I think I do.