Vilas was magnificent on Sunday against McEnroe in clinching victory for Argentina. McEnroe had two chances to go up 5-2 and double break in the first set, but he squandered them both and then, remarkably, lost 15 straight games. The obituary read four, love and one. "Da la, Campéon; da la, Campéon" ("Give it to him, Champion"), the crowd sang at the end, rocking the joint.
McEnroe was exhausted, from the heat and from the 10 sets he'd played the two previous days. He needs more work on the practice courts, having been away resting his shoulder, which he injured while defeating Ivan Lendl in Philadelphia six weeks ago. The problem is tendinitis—"just a dull pain," says McEnroe—and he plans to return to playing, next week in Munich. That decision might not be worth fussing over, except for the fact that McEnroe rushed back too soon from an ankle injury at this time last year, and he wasn't the same for months.
The Argentines next must meet Italy—in Italy—in July. Within a few minutes after he sealed the win, Vilas was already saying he wasn't sure whether he'd be available for the tie. As for Clerc, he decided he was injured, so a substitute had to be dispatched to play Mayer in the final meaningless match. The last time the two Leos beat America and McEnroe, in 1980, their continuing disputes were blamed for a desultory loss to Czechoslovakia a few months later. A team is not a marriage. Or anyway, teams, like marriages, can sometimes be annulled. Más o menos.