after a story by Simon Robinson
Darkness closes in. The officials tell Doohan this is the last game. Doohan breaks Alex Antonitsch to win 9-7 in the fifth set of the first round of Wimbledon. Then three days of rain, a necessary pause. Boris Becker is next, the two-time defending champion. Three days of waiting, boredom. Doohan finds a broken phone booth where coins get stuck, allowing him to talk to his girlfriend back in Little Rock, Arkansas for as long as he wants. Three days of rain means three days of imagination, strategy, planning: chipping it low to Becker’s feet, anticipating every Becker backhand volley would be volleyed crosscourt. Rex Bellamy wrote that Doohan “covered the net like an octopus with souped-up reactions.” Boris Becker is slain; Peter Doohan is dubbed the “Becker Wrecker.” One match, one tournament, can make a career.
Dying suddenly from Lou Gehrig’s disease at 56, Peter Doohan tells his college roommate, Simon Robinson, the following joke: The village’s fishing master comes home to a wife gone missing. After a desperate week, the village authorities call him in. We have good news and bad news. Great news, too. The good news is that we found your wife. The bad news is that she was found dead in the water, a few lobsters clinging to her body. Visibly shaken, the fisherman asks:“What could possibly be the great news?” We lowered her again down into the water, brought her up with seventeen lobsters clinging to her body. You can have half the haul. After Simon stops laughing, Doohan insists: “you must promise to tell this joke during your eulogy for me in a couple of months.”
Simon walks to the altar in Newcastle’s biggest church . . .
Peter Doohan Bio (from Wikipedia): At the 1987 Wimbledon Championships, he unexpectedly defeated two-time defending champion and top-seeded Boris Becker in the second round, earning himself the nickname “The Becker Wrecker” at home in Australia.
Doohan played collegiately in the United States with the University of Arkansas where he won the NCAA doubles title in 1982. Also a successful singles player, he won three Australian Hard Court Championships consecutively from (1984–1986). In 1984, he won the South Australian Open singles title. In 1988, he won the San Louis Potosí singles title on clay in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. He also coached high school tennis at Donoho High School in Anniston, Alabama, for several years in the mid-1990s.