•An obscure journalist named Nora McCabe gave more interviews than she received.
•And an obscure South African named Derek Tarr became the odds-on favorite to succeed the great and not-too-late Bobby Riggs as the guardian of the sanctuary of macho tennis.
In truth, it has been a long road back to respectability for that prince of an Englishman, Lloyd. Recently reunited with Chris following a trial separation, now possessed of tranquility, confidence and a newly discovered intensity for the game, Lloyd eliminated four players ranked above him to reach the quarters. There Connors, the wife's old flame, sent him packing 7-5, 6-2, 6-0. Nonetheless, Lloyd wasn't dismayed. "I respect myself more now, knowing I'm working the hardest I can," he said after he had jumped 19 spots on the computer and had his sights set on cracking the Top 20.
Merely aiming to please was McCabe of Toronto's Globe and Mail, who patiently answered questions from her peers about a complaint she'd filed last month with the Men's International Professional Tennis Council. Following a press conference at the Canadian Open, McEnroe took exception to a rather innocuous story McCabe had written about him, in which she described him as being "petulant," "whiny" and "paranoid." The usual suspects. According to McCabe's official complaint, McEnroe shouted at her: "Lady, for what it's worth, you know you're a——." Then, again: "You're a——." And: "You probably haven't been——in three weeks. You should try getting——more often."
An unrepentant McEnroe used a press conference at Flushing Meadow to scold the media in general and to claim that McCabe had "lied" in her article and that "we're human beings and that's why I said it. I don't regret what I said at all." McEnroe said he was appealing the council's $2,000 fine.
Moving right along.... It happens to be Navratilova's supreme gift that she not only has raised women's tennis to another level, but she also has furnished a platform for over-the-hill male scoundrels to beat up on her name and regain some long-lost pub. Witness none other than Vitas Gerulaitis, old Disco Ex Officio himself, who last year slipped out of the Top 10 for the first time since 1977. In the opening week of the tournament, Disco sneaked back into the columns by saying he was tired of hearing Martina compared with McEnroe and that he would bet "my house" she couldn't beat the 100th-ranked male player and "two houses" she couldn't beat Harold Solomon. "Martina can't even beat her own coach [Mike Estep]," Gerulaitis said. "If Estep [who's 35] came back on tour, he'd be ranked two thousand."
Joining the fray, Navratilova said if she could pick the surface, she thought she'd "have a shot" at the No. 100 guy. Coincidentally, Solomon had planned to issue a press release at the Open announcing his retirement. When he heard about the man-vs.-Martina wagers, he decided to add an "anytime, anywhere" challenge to the release before being talked out of it by his insurance man.
Estep and his wife, Barbara, the chambermaid-housemistress at Kappa Delta Martina, checked their bank accounts to see if they had enough bread to stake Estep vs. Gerulaitis, a match that would rival Benitez-Duran II as a gate attraction. Ilie Nastase, of course, offered to play Navratilova, while wearing "a dress, my hair permed and a tiara." Mr. Ranked No. 100—yes, the annointed Tarr—disappeared from the face of the earth. "The poor guy called my mother last night," said Gerulaitis. "He's so nervous he can't sleep." Renee Richards did go to sleep. And Riggs surely turned over in his tavern.
Leave it to Evert Lloyd to put everything in perspective. "There are so many college players who aren't even ranked who could beat the top women," she said. "Even the men over 40 could beat us. My brother [John, 23, who used to play for Vanderbilt] still beats me, and he isn't ranked. Martina would lose to the top 1,000 men."
Navratilova and Evert Lloyd had cleared the decks by routing 31-year-old Wendy Turnbull and 16-year-old Carling Bassett, respectively. Turnbull had upset Pam Shriver to reach the semis, while Bassett had surprised Hana Mandlikova. After their matches the two losers vied for the tacky-talk chair opposite Joan Rivers. The haughty Shriver labeled her demise as "unfortunate" for women's tennis because "I don't think it [Turnbull-Navratilova] is going to be that good a match." Mandlikova blamed her defeat on the fact that all the pressure was on her. Bassett, she said, "had nothing to worry about. Her father [Tampa Bay Bandits owner John] is a millionaire. If she loses, so what?"