Jimmy Connors , when I was a kid first starting to watch the game of tennis was a larger than life type of player who's tennis was exhilarating but his mannerism's were just as entertaining. I have looked everywhere on You Tube for a piece of footage that I will never forget yet it seems to be forgotten by the Tennis World unfortunately.
This particular match I had in mind was one against arch rival Ivan Lendl, these two didn't really have much time for each other either on or off court. I recall vividly Lendl complaining about the umpiring and in fact sitting down in his chair in protest about something. Connors did what any character of the game would do, he grabbed a court side microphone and started interviewing crowd members . From memory I believe one of his questions was " Excuse me Sir is this the most amazing thing you have ever seen on a tennis court"?
This was possibly one of the funniest things I have ever seen in tennis yet it seems as though it has no footage at all anymore, perhaps one day it will turn up, hopefully. Jimmy Connors was like that , he could be an entertainer as well as a champion tennis player. Matches between him and McEnroe were particularly worth watching as these two really didn't like each other either. Connors did like Borg though as the champion Swede never did anything to upset him, he simply just beat him all the time. From memory perhaps ten or eleven matches in a row to Borg.
The thing that Connors did was play with a style that many kids of today could emulate, he played with guts. Jimmy was never a great volleyer yet if you watch some old footage you will see a man who played with no limitations. 'Jimbo' would at times get on a roll with his approach shots and keep coming in to finish the point, it was attacking tennis at it's best from a baseliner.
The Lipton Championship final of 1988 saw Connors come to the net over 100 times in a four set loss to Wilander but he lived by one rule, don't die wondering. Jimbo will always be remembered for his many famous quotes, some were priceless, none better than " I hate to lose more than I like to win".
Connors was possibly the biggest driving force behind the Seniors Tour , a series of tournaments involving past champions who still had much to offer to the public as far as their ability was concerned. The tour was and still is a huge success.
Whilst many considered Jimbo egotistical and arrogant he was one of the most charismatic players the game has ever produced. The brand that he delivered was one that will possibly always remain unique with a mixture of hard flat hitting combined with a solid volley. When Connors was in trouble he would often resort to all out attack rather than sit on the baseline and play safe tennis.
These quotes from Jimbo will go down in history as some of the best....
"People don't seem to understand that it's a damn war out there ".
" Experience is a great advantage. The problem is that when you get the experience you're too damned old to do anything about it ".
" I'm not looking to be understood or liked. Like me or not, I don't care. I am an outsider, that is the way I was brought up ".
Jimmy's book 'The Outsider' is a classic, do yourself a favour......