It was so hard. When we came into the locker room I started the usual chore of icing my arm. I looked over at Martina, and she was crying. I went over to her. "I always knew that whenever we did lose, I'd cry," she said.
I knelt beside her and shed a tear or two myself. What the hell. We'll probably never see 109 consecutive victories again. I don't know if anybody will. I don't think people comprehend what 109 straight wins over more than two years means. "Don't be too upset," I said. "It's still a special day for you—your sixth Wimbledon, four in a row."
But that didn't seem to pick her up. I knew how much she cared for our matches. So, after a while, I got out the contract that Martina had signed in Eastbourne. I brought it to her and said, "Is this still good?"
Martina just let out with one of her high-pitched gales of laughter. "Of course it is, Pam," she said.
But I knew that.
Home again. Oh, how nice to pick up a paper and read about the Orioles—or to make a phone call to a friend without worrying about the time change. I'm 23 now, which is not old by any means. I could play this game for another 10 years. But I hope I don't. The life is just too difficult for a woman, unless you're Chris or Martina and you win all the time.
I've been extremely lucky to have had Don around since the beginning of my tennis, and to have had wonderful parents and a wonderful family. I still feel as normal as any traveling world professional female athlete can feel. I still like myself and my values. After all, I have already accomplished a helluva lot. It's just that I still need to work harder on my tennis. There's Newport next week, then Los Angeles and Mahwah, Riggs and Gerulaitis, and then the U.S. Open.
I was a finalist there a long time ago, when I was 16, before I was old enough to think about all these other things.
SEPTEMBER 1—NEW YORK CITY