John McEnroe, who was booed at the start of the men's singles final and cheered when he wound up a gallant loser to Bjorn Borg nearly four hours later, was stung by his reception at Centre Court.
He had made a conscious effort throughout the tournament to keep his temper in check, and shed the petulant, bad boy image last year that earned him several unflattering nicknames from the British press: Superbrat," "The Incredible Sulk," and "McTantrum."
However, his acrimonious semifinal victory over Jimmy Connors, in which he questioned several line calls, argued with the empire, and exchanged heated words with Connors, apparently undid all his good efforts.
Suddenly, on the back page of this morning's tabloids, McEnroe was "The Volcano," portrayed as the hothead of yore, ready to erupt.
When he walked out to face the popular Borg, he was jeered, the first time many veteran observers could remember such a negative greeting for a Wimbledon finalist.
"I was very disappointed in the beginning because I didn't get a good hand at all, and I think it was because of what the people write here," he said. "I really don't have anything to say about it, except all of a sudden you do one thing and you're a terrible guy. People read all that crap."
McEnroe was perfectly behaved today in his valiant five-set loss to Borg.
"I wasn't going to question anything, because I wanted it to be the best I could, I wanted to give the best possible response to the public that I could," he said, "obviously it didn't work too well against Connors, and this is the finals of Wimbledon."
Did he sense a change in the reception of the crowd during the epic final?
"Eventually, just because of the match," said McEnroe.
"I still think they wanted Borg to win the whole time, that kind of disappointed me, because he had won it four times in a row already. But the way he acts is like the epitome of the perfect tennis player, so it's pretty hard to beat that."
Kathy Jordan and Anne Smith, 20-year-old Americans who won the French Open women's doubles title last month added the Wimbledon title to their collection today and in the process kept Billie Jean King from increasing her record of 20 career Wimbledon titles.
Jordan and Smith defeated defending champions King and Martina Navratilova in the rain-delayed semi-finals today, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, and then beat Rosemary Casals and Wendy Turnbull in the final, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
King, playing her 20th Wimbledon at age 36, had hoped to add to the 10 women's doubles titles she has won here with four different partners, starting with Karen Hantze in 1961, when she was 17.
It was with Navratilova last year that she finally clinched the elusive 20th title and broke the record she previously had shared with Elizabeth Byan, who won 19 women's and mixed doubles titles between 1914 and 1934. Miss Ryan collapsed and died at Wimbledon last year, at age 88, less than 24 hours before her cherished record was erased.
King -- who won six singles, 10 doubles, and four mixed doubles titles at the All England Club -- lost in the quarterfinals of the singles this year to Navratilova and in the quarters of the mixed with Dick Stockton to Australians Dianne Fromholtz and Mark Edmondson.
Tracy Austin, the 17-year-old U.S. Open singles champion, today teamed with her 22-year-old brother, John, to win the mixed title over Fromholtz and Edmonson, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.
Australians Peter McNamara and Paul McNamee, who have shot out of obscurity to establish themselves as one of the finest teams in the world the last 12 months, won the men's doubles over the veteran American team of Stan Smith and Bob Lutz, 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.
The All England Plate or consolation event for first and second round losers in the singles was won by Shlomo Glickstein of Israel, who had acquitted himself before losing to five-time champion Bjorn Borg in the main event. Glickstein beat Patrice Dominguez of France, 7-5, 7-6.
The Women's Plate event was won by South African Rosalyn Fairbanks, who beat California Sharon Walsh in the final, 6-4, 6-2.