Normally, Newcombe is more subtle in his speech and manner. He called one reporter "Walt" with amiable respect throughout a press conference, though this was not his name. The befuddled newsman inquired why later. "You and Walt Disney both have good imaginations," Newcombe replied. The day after he won at Wimbledon he was barred from the grounds because he forgot his player's pass. "Hello," he said diffidently to the stern guard, "I'm John Newcombe." He did not cry havoc when the guard—doing his job, he kept saying—denied entry to Newcombe's car. Of course, all the time John was growing up, it was thought the kid didn't have that vaunted killer instinct.
But he does have determination and confidence, qualities he applies with the matter-of-fact practicality of an accountant. Angelique, an attractive blonde with velvet eyes like mountain lakes, never really had a chance, for on the first night they went out together Newcombe decided he would marry her. He did, however, neglect to let her in on this. Instead he went home and woke up his roomie, teammate Owen Davidson. Davidson was unmoved by the revelation—not that he is unromantic, but because the night before, Newcombe had come in late and had stumbled all over Davidson and the bad knee he was nursing. Davidson allowed as how he didn't care who Newcombe was marrying—just stop waking me up and stay the hell away from my knee. "You'll see," Newcombe said confidently, and went to sleep. He was right, of course. He has not often been wrong about himself.
He was once—when he assumed at 19 that those Davis Cup Challenge Round defeats would not hurt. But he is champion now, and the suspicion here is that he is not going to be the nondescript, everyday type that he has already been written off as. The confidence that is now turning tentative shots into winners seems capable of transmuting the accountant's entire game into one with a champion's flash and style. The big game, so repetitive and jejune, could become thunderous and ebullient. Even now, Newcombe plays the net with his own special daring—on top of it, challenging, like a third baseman moving in close, defying a potential bunter to hit away. And his on-court peculiarities—shirttail out, tousled towhead, a large inurbane grunt that he dispenses with each serve—can become crowd-pleasing characteristics. The considerable charm of the private Newcombe is unlikely to remain hidden within the public one. He may well prove to be a special Aussie, and not just another one.