Before the final, Estep had told Navratilova to "go North," that is, charge the net at every opportunity. Even when Evert Lloyd rallied briefly in the early stages of the second set—just after a squadron of Lipton Tea skywriters buzzed overhead, inscribing GOOD LUCK CHRISSIE across the wild blue yonder—she was admitting to herself that her 3-2 lead was "not justified." Her ground strokes kept falling short, her serves were roly-poly, so that time and again she needed perfect shots against Navratilova barreling North. Sometimes even they weren't enough, such as in the ninth game of the second set, when Navratilova struck two stunning winners. One was at the net, reaching around, flicking it home. Then moments later, she chased down a lob, somehow outracing the ball, firing a rope back down the line. Anyone watching had to think: No other woman who ever played this game could have hit both those shots. One yes, but not both. Not up over here and then back down there. And in one game.
However, Navratilova is also, as she explained patiently to an interrogator afterward, only 5'7½", 145 pounds, no monster, no Amazon. Or, as even Shriver says, the dark day Navratilova lost to Horvath in Paris, she was so tight, so perfectly human, "she was like a baby out there." But enough of the nitpicking. Martina Navratilova, Texas' own, formerly of Prague and Burger King, has won her United States Open, won it as convincingly as any woman ever did. With that necessary bit of business at last taken care of, she can begin to traffic in history and venture at being a legend after Chris Evert Lloyd's own time.