In their quarterfinal match, what the 5'1", 90-pound dumpling didn't have was enough strength, reach or experience to cope with a red-hot Stove switched to the "on" position.
A foot taller, 67 pounds heavier and 18 years older, Stove kept cracking flat, hard drives onto the lines and into the open spaces where Tracy just couldn't handle them. She lost 6-2, 6-2 and got ready to head back to Rolling Hills and the ninth grade.
"I didn't get tired," Tracy said afterward. "Betty just hit winners. I can hardly get her serve back. I'm still so little, you know?"
Well, we all know. But time flies. Even as Austin's party was ending, Ted Tin-ling, the tennis dress designer, said, "Her mother and I are preparing for the premeditated evolution of Tracy's character." Which can only mean that in a few years this darling little girl will be losing her braces, knocking down millions in clothing and toothpaste endorsements and promoting challenge matches against Steve Cauthen at Disney World.
That would be approximately in the same decade that Connors and Borg will have both keeled over from the sheer exhaustion of out-injuring one another. For a long while at Forest Hills, it seemed as if neither of the favorites would make it through another night, what with Connors' back "wrenching" apart by the minute and Borg's right pectoralis muscle, "exquisitely tender," according to an orthopedic surgeon, combining with tendinitis in his right shoulder. Of course, nobody believed any of this was on the level.
" Borg said the same stuff last year at Wimbledon and he served a dozen aces in the final," said Vitas Gerulaitis. "Connors is hurt in every tournament. He's the best hurt player in the world."
Harold Solomon even charged that Connors told him he was faking an injury to pull out of Boston and practice for Forest Hills. But when a female journalist quizzed Jimbo on the matter, His Gallantness snapped, "I wish you could crawl inside my back." Staring her up and down, Connors reconsidered. "No. Actually I want you in front of me."
Similar doubt surrounded Borg's injuries, which were publicly blamed on a pre-tournament practice session but more likely occurred while water-skiing with Gerulaitis. After the Wimbledon champion had patty-cake served through three matches to reach Dick Stockton, one writer cynically shouted, "Call me when the Swede's arm falls off."
That is about what happened at approximately 3 p.m. on Tuesday when Borg walked away from Forest Hills, carrying his limp right arm like a rag doll. Having split sets with Stockton, who was diligently lobbing to test Borg's feeble overheads, the No. 1 seed sat down on a changeover, gazed over at his coach, Lennart Bergelin, and indicated he wasn't able to continue.
"It's tough to take advantage of an injury when you're playing a nice guy like Bjorn," said Stockton. "But Bergelin practically told me to lob. They asked for it."