Game 8 was a 12-pointer, but Borg came up empty. Game 10 was an 18-pointer that included The Call. At 15-30 McEnroe's volley to the baseline was called good by the linesman but ruled out by the umpire, leaving McEnroe with two set points against him. He stared, bowed his head and walked away. McEnroe had enough respect for the occasion and too much for Borg to blow up now. "It's too hard to deal with other problems when you're trying to beat him," McEnroe was to say. Instead he rallied to deuce behind a pair of first serves. Then came two more set points, and McEnroe responded with two more winners. Four set points in one game, gone. Did Borg know now?
In the second tiebreak, Borg down 4-3 and serving, McEnroe displayed his facile touch, wristing a sensational pass from each wing to reach triple set point. He converted on the second with a lunging drop volley.
In Games 7 and 8 of the fourth set, Borg unleashed his major arsenal—return rockets, sprinting gets, reflex volleys—but the best he could do was stay even. McEnroe's racket was a fishnet now, and he kept catching and flinging Borg's minnows into the vacancies on the lawn. Down 4-5, Borg played three loose points to give McEnroe his first Wimbledon championship point, ever. McEnroe blocked a backhand wide. An overhead gave him a second championship point.
Throughout the tournament, among the nicer things McEnroe screamed at himself was "play like a human being." As he paused for that final volley, as he crunched it home, as he waited for the fallen champion to walk to net and honor his conqueror, how secure McEnroe must have felt knowing that, on one marvelous afternoon at least, he had defeated Bjorn Borg, played like a human being and acted like one as well.
If there were imperfections at Wimbledon, you couldn't prove it by the women, who seemed to be preoccupied in speculating on what Lady Di would be wearing in the Royal Box or quaking in the path of an aroused, avenging Chris Evert Lloyd. Actually, the All England Club can do no wrong on the distaff side. This year their champion even collected more loot than her male counterpart. While the prize money allotted her was $4,000 less than the $43,000 McEnroe won, she also received a $6,000 pendant from the De Beers diamond people. Well, two women do run England. Evert Lloyd, who ended up wearing the diamonds, acknowledged she had been "always in awe of this place." The club, not the country. And she has played 10 Wimbledons. Now, at least part of the time, she lives just down the lane. Neighborhood girl makes good. Or, as the screaming tabloids might put it, WIMBY KISS FOR LOCAL CHRIS.
This was Evert Lloyd's Wimbledon from the beginning. She had lost in the championship round three years in a row, and no tournament beats Chris Evert Lloyd in four straight finals. Then, too, she was coming off that oddest of oddities, a defeat on clay. When Hana Mandlikova, the 19-year-old Czech flamethrower, beat her en route to winning the French Open last month, Evert Lloyd was stung, shaken, near torment. Clay was her home, and Mandlikova had ransacked it. "I told myself that if I played Hana at Wimbledon I would beat her," said Evert Lloyd.
Early on there, Mandlikova was the innocent source of controversy. First, Martina Navratilova, who's ranked third on the computer, as well as Tracy Austin (No. 2) and Andrea Jaeger (No. 4), complained bitterly about Hana's No. 2 seeding. Mandlikova is fifth on the computer. Then some misguided pundits proclaimed that Mandlikova, having won the Australian Open last December, was already halfway to the Grand Slam. Their reasoning was that to win the Slam one only has to win the four major titles consecutively, not all in the same year.
To prevent Hana from becoming a Grand Slamma, Evert Lloyd practiced four hours each day of the tournament with her husband, John, and his coach, Dennis Ralston. They drilled "my behind off," said Lloyd femme. She would eat peanut butter sandwiches and work crossword puzzles in the car on the way to her matches. At night her mother, Colette, would cook at the Lloyds' apartment. "I feel so relaxed," Chris said. "This Wimbledon is...so family." It was also...so easy. She dropped but 26 games in the entire tournament.
Meanwhile, the teen-age Evert Lloyd clones were conveniently being dispatched back to the factory for repairs. Kathy Rinaldi, 14, the youngest competitor at Wimbledon since the Edwardian era, lost two love sets to Claudia Pasquale from, you guessed it, Switzerland. Jaeger, 16, was upset by the veteran chubette, Mima Jausovec.
Then there was Austin, 18. Tracy Austin 18? Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. "I can't believe this is my fifth Wimbledon," she said. "I feel like a pioneer." In truth, Austin was an outpatient. Out of action for five months with an inflamed sciatic nerve, she had returned to the circuit with a victory at Eastbourne. But that was false security. Austin hadn't been challenged, was not match-tough. When she arrived in the quarters, who should be waiting but her personal pigeon, Pam Shriver, 0-11 lifetime against Austin. Now she's 1-11.