When Mottram closed him out 6-3, the British hugged Buster and whoever else was available upon the court, while in the stands the fans waved Union Jacks in the pitch darkness and sang For He's a Jolly Good Fellow.
"A match like this could only have happened in the Davis Cup." Paul Hutchins said. "It couldn't even happen at Wimbledon or Flushing Meadow."
And almost surely he was right. It doesn't matter that this most stirring and symbolic Davis Cup match was won by the losing team. Britain and the U.S. played the first Davis Cup matches in 1900, and while until now they had not met in a final since 1937, the first two nations of tennis showed their lasting quality. Mottram's victory will never be forgotten for being so extraordinary; the triumph of Smith and Lutz will stand as the apex of their brilliant doubles career; and if McEnroe is as special a talent as he appears, the 1978 Davis Cup will forever be celebrated as the instant when he first took his game preeminent upon a world stage. But then....
An English visitor took out his cigarettes and, emboldened by another whiskey, forgot about being polite. "In a bloody desert." he said bitterly. "A bloody resort conversation piece. Would we put it on in a beach pavilion at Cornwall? Would we take it to Bermuda and make it into a reception in the Governor's garden? Two hundred people watching the Davis Cup final—and half of them flown from England. Your players deserve the Cup. Well and good. America doesn't. Sorry."