Martin is confident he can succeed on his own, that his resourcefulness will see him through, if outside forces, particularly linesmen, do not interfere. "Tennis is my life," he says. "I've put enough into it that I don't want to be cheated out of anything by a bad call. That's also why I don't like team sports. Losing because someone else blew it would tee me off."
Bassett sees two weaknesses in Martin's game, his serve and his temperament. Billy himself admits, "I've had matches where my temper hurt me. I can be horrible to be around after a loss."
Martin chooses not to contemplate the possibility of failure. "When I think that I might not achieve a goal I've set," he says, "I throw the idea out of my mind. I don't even think about it. If it turns out that I'm just another player, I don't know how I'll take it."
After a pause he adds, "If I don't make it, at least I'll know I put everything I had into it."
In that respect, too, Billy Martin is much like Jimmy Connors.