This was just a typical day at Wimbledon for John McEnroe.
He offended the future queen of England, Lady Diana Spencer, with his ill-tempered behavior and abusive language toward linesmen. Lady Di, attending her first Wimbledon, left the royal box in the midst of McEnroe's match and did not return.
He called the Wimbledon umpire, a wing commander in the RAF, "a disgrace to mankind."
He told those in the Centre Court crowd that they were "vultures."
He screamed at the top of his lungs, "I always get robbed because of the umpires in this place."
He was given a warning and a penalty point, which cost him a game. As a result, he may be fined $10,000 and be recommended for a future suspension by the All-England club's committee.
He prompted a stodgy BBC commentator to describe him on national television as a man who was "ranting and raving."
In case there was anyone he hadn't insulted or offended, McEnroe then blasted his victim in these semifinals -- Rod Frawley of Australia -- for slow play. "That guy was the reason it took us three hours to play three sets (7-6, 6-4, 7-5). I've finally found someone who plays slower than I do."
At day's end, McEnroe turned an international press conference into a shambles.
McEnroe cursed two reporters from the Fleet Street "comics," who continued grilling him today about the absence from Wimbledon of his long-time girlfriend, tennis pro Stacy Margolin.
The topic moved to his relations with the public and McEnroe stalked out, after calling the newsmen "trash." Then representatives of scandal sheets and more conventional news organs engaged in a full-scale, high-level debate of professional ethics, which resulted in two journalists punching each other to the floor and rolling thereon.
Officials announced later that the only newsmen who would be allowed into the interview room hereafter would be those reporters with correct passes. Other journalists, such as the reporter whose questions initially angered McEnroe, would no longer be welcome in the room.
In a sense, Lady Diana proved herself worthy of a crown today. She will never have to attend a more interminable official function than the Frawley-McEnroe affair, which was highlighted by Frawley wasting 15 seconds in bouncing the ball before each serve.
After one of 13 line calls that he vigorously debated, McEnroe, looking at the umpire, said clearly, "You're a disgrace to mankind."
"Penalty point against Mr. McEnroe." He had previously announced, "Warning to Mr. McEnroe for unsportsmanlike conduct."
"What did I say?" asked McEnroe repeatedly. "Tell me, please tell me. I said, 'You're a disgrace about myself after a bad shot. Can't I even talk to myself?"
McEnroe then asked to speak to Wimbledon's highest authority, referee Fred Hoyles -- the fellow he called an idiot on Monday. This time, McEnroe had wised up. This time, he called him sir.
As in, "Sir, I was only talking to myself."
Hoyles wrinkled his brow. Hoyles thought. Hoyles spoke. You were heard by the umpire," said Hoyles. "Play on. I stand by the competency of the umpire."
From which point on McEnroe confined himself to mocking comments, such as, "Mr. Umpire, could you please make another bad call for me?"