Ivan Lendl won and went home angry. John McEnroe played six games and went home satisfied. Chris Evert Lloyd practiced for 45 minutes and went home relieved.
That was day one of Wimbledon 1985, a dreary, rainy day when the sun's only appearance came after 7 p.m. By then, only Lendl and Mel Purcell were playing. Everyone else in the other 66 scheduled matches had been sent home.
Lendl, the No. 2 seed, remained on Court One until 8:48 p.m., beating Purcell, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2). Then he walked into the locker room and found it empty.
"I didn't know we were the only ones playing until I went inside and no one else was there," Lendl said angrily. "I'm very upset. It was slippery and dangerous out there. How would they have felt if one of us had broken a tendon and been out for a year or something.
"I thought the other matches were going on. Why didn't somebody come and tell us? The chair umpire may not have known but there were other officials who did."
Lendl and Purcell played on because they didn't do what McEnroe did. After playing to a 3-3 standoff with Peter McNamara on Centre Court, McEnroe asked to see tournament referee Alan Mills. After he and McNamara both told Mills that the court was dangerous, Mills stopped the match.
Although McEnroe was booed when he called for Mills, the court clearly was not fit for play. Both players were losing their footing on almost every point and, McNamara, who only recently has returned from major knee surgery, appeared to be particularly concerned.
Exactly how the players felt, no one knew since they were not made available for comment because, officials said, "the match is still in progress."
While McEnroe and McNamara progressed to the showers -- McEnroe waving to the crowd as he left -- Lendl and Purcell, 50 yards away, kept playing. Court One, which does not have the overhanging grandstand that the Centre Court has, did appear drier, though still slippery.
"It was very bad conditions to play," Lendl said. "I don't know why we were out there."
If not for McEnroe and Lendl, the only news of this day would have been Evert's indoor practice session across town. Evert, still No. 1 in the women's computer rankings despite Martina Navratilova's victory at Eastbourne last weekend, awoke Friday morning with a crick in her neck and did not practice over the weekend.
Today, after practicing, Evert said she almost was certain she would be ready to play her first-round match Wednesday against Mary Lou Piatek. Evert had asked for a one-day postponement as a precaution. The postponement became automatic when the rain virtually wiped out today's schedule.
There have been few days here without rain this month. Today was no different.
First came a midmorning downpour, drenching thousands of fans queued up outside the All England Lawn Tennis Club, waiting to get standing room or seats on the outside courts. Then came thunder and lightning, one bolt striking the new media building that has been built at Centre Court.
That was followed by hours of steady, dreary rain. It was almost 6 p.m. by the time the skies began clearing, and it was 6:24 when McEnroe and McNamara walked out for the first match of the championships.
The Duke and Duchess of Kent long since had gone home, so McEnroe, the defending champion, had no one to bow to as he entered. But he was greeted warmly by the 14,500 who filled Centre Court, almost 2,000 of them having stood in the rain all day to hold their spots.
McEnroe promptly lost his serve at love in the opening game -- McNamara blasting four winners -- and was down, 2-0, before the match was six minutes old.
But as McEnroe began to get the feel of the court (he had not practiced here prior to the tournament), McNamara began to have more and more trouble chasing down shots.
With McNamara serving at 3-2, McEnroe broke back with four winners, the last a gorgeous backhand return that rocketed past McNamara, who lunged for the ball and almost fell.
At that point, McEnroe walked to the chair, gestured to McNamara and made it clear by his gestures that he thought play should be stopped. McNamara agreed, and the two players sat down to await Mills. The referee walked out along with Grand Prix Supervisor Ken Farrar. After a brief discussion, the match was postponed.
That left Lendl and Purcell all alone as the sun finally made an appearance just in time to set brilliantly in the cool dusk.
The patient fans who remained at Court One saw some good tennis. Purcell, who once was ranked No. 26 in the world but has dropped to No. 75 on the computer, has played only three tournaments this year because of an elbow problem.
But he is still a crowd-pleaser, a blond scrambler whose main strength is quickness. Even sliding and falling, he made several circus shots.
Lendl, resolute about attacking more on grass, hit some horrid volleys. But he hit some good ones and served well when he had to, especially in the tie breakers.
"I was happy with my serving and with some of my ground strokes," Lendl said. "Mostly, though, I'm happy to get it over without getting hurt."
Purcell did have chances. He had a set point at 5-4 in the second set, but Lendl, slipping, got to a forehand volley and netcorded a winner. He served out the game easily and won the tie breaker with two crunching backhand winners.
The second tie breaker was a repeat of the first, Lendl pushing his game up a notch, ending the match with two big serves.
Then, he went to the empty locker room and got angry. "I don't know what I can do about it but I'm certainly going to say something to somebody about it," he said. "I noticed the fans were laughing when I tried to get the grass out of my sneakers (Lendl has a habit of tapping his sneakers before every point, regardless of the surface) and I think that's pitiful. They should have been glad they had something to watch."
One person who did not particularly sympathize with Lendl was U.S. Davis Cup captain Arthur Ashe. "If the players think the court is dangerous, it's up to them to tell the umpire," he said. "They're the ones who know the conditions best. He should have said something."
"I don't think that's my job," Lendl said. "They should have told us no other matches were being played."