Elizabeth [Bunny] Ryan, 87, whose record of 19 Wimbledon titles Billie Jean King will be trying to break Saturday collapsed outside the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club today and died en route to a hospital.
Miss Ryan, a native of California, was one of the great doubles players of all time. She never won the Wimbledon singles, but took 12 women's doubles and seven mixed doubles titles between 1914 and 1934.
Miss Ryan, who had lived in London since World War II, planned to attend the women's doubles final Saturday, when King and Martina Navratilova will play Betty Stove and Wendy Turnbull. But she complained of feeling tired after watching the women's singles and collapsed, apparently of a heart attack.
Jimmy Connors, vanquished in the men's semifinals Thursday by Bjorn Borg, left London for home today with these words for reporters: "Get out of the way or I will bust your heads in."
Peter Fleming, the towering New Jerseyite with the crunching serve-and-volley game and brilliant topspin backhand who teamed with John McEnroe today to win the men's doubles championship, was getting a little tired of waiting for his celebrated partner. So he sauntered alone into the press conference that followed their four-set victory over Ramirez and Brain Gottfried.
"How tall are you?"someone inquired.
"Seven-foot-two, right now," Fleming replied. "Six-foot-five the rest of the year."
"What makes you and John a great doubles team, perhaps the best in the world on the strength of the past year's record?"
"He's great jockey," said Fleming. "I'm strong and I can carry him."
Actually, Fleming and McEnroe, who have been playing together fewer than two years, are a great doubles team because both serve and return serve extremely well, and are agile menaces at the net.
"John especially moves a lot at the net, so if I hit a good return we probably win the point 80 percent of the time," said Fleming. "Either he crosses, or the opponents make an error because they think he's going to cross. That's why we broke Gottfried and Ramirez six times in the last two sets."