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Jimmy Connors is a working-man's hero, a people's champion who could tear the cover off a tennis ball, just as he tore the cover off the country-club gentility of his sport. A renegade from the wrong side of the tracks, Connors broke the rules with a radically aggressive style of play and bad-boy antics that turned his matches into prizefights. In 1974 alone, he won 95 out Jimmy Connors is a working-man's hero, a people's champion who could tear the cover off a tennis ball, just as he tore the cover off the country-club gentility of his sport. A renegade from the wrong side of the tracks, Connors broke the rules with a radically aggressive style of play and bad-boy antics that turned his matches into prizefights. In 1974 alone, he won 95 out of 99 matches, all of them while wearing the same white shorts he washed in the sink of his hotel bathrooms. Though he lived the rock star life away from tennis, his enduring dedication to his craft earned him eight Grand Slam singles titles and kept him among the top ten best players in the world for sixteen straight years—five at number one. In The Outsider, Connors tells the complete, uncensored story of his life and career, setting the record straight about his formidable mother, Gloria; his very public romance with America's sweetheart Chris Evert; his famous opponents, including Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Ivan Lendl, and Rod Laver; his irrepressible co-conspirators Ilie Nastase and Vitas Gerulaitis; and his young nemesis Andre Agassi. Connors reveals how his issues with obsessive-compulsive disorder, dyslexia, gambling, and women at various times threatened to derail his career and his long-lasting marriage to Playboy Playmate Patti McGuire. Presiding over an era that saw tennis attract a new breed of passionate fans—from cops to tycoons—Connors transformed the game forever with his two-handed backhand, his two-fisted lifestyle, and his epic rivalries. The Outsider is a grand slam of a memoir written by a man once again at the top of his game—as feisty, unvarnished, and defiant as ever.


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Jimmy Connors is a working-man's hero, a people's champion who could tear the cover off a tennis ball, just as he tore the cover off the country-club gentility of his sport. A renegade from the wrong side of the tracks, Connors broke the rules with a radically aggressive style of play and bad-boy antics that turned his matches into prizefights. In 1974 alone, he won 95 out Jimmy Connors is a working-man's hero, a people's champion who could tear the cover off a tennis ball, just as he tore the cover off the country-club gentility of his sport. A renegade from the wrong side of the tracks, Connors broke the rules with a radically aggressive style of play and bad-boy antics that turned his matches into prizefights. In 1974 alone, he won 95 out of 99 matches, all of them while wearing the same white shorts he washed in the sink of his hotel bathrooms. Though he lived the rock star life away from tennis, his enduring dedication to his craft earned him eight Grand Slam singles titles and kept him among the top ten best players in the world for sixteen straight years—five at number one. In The Outsider, Connors tells the complete, uncensored story of his life and career, setting the record straight about his formidable mother, Gloria; his very public romance with America's sweetheart Chris Evert; his famous opponents, including Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Ivan Lendl, and Rod Laver; his irrepressible co-conspirators Ilie Nastase and Vitas Gerulaitis; and his young nemesis Andre Agassi. Connors reveals how his issues with obsessive-compulsive disorder, dyslexia, gambling, and women at various times threatened to derail his career and his long-lasting marriage to Playboy Playmate Patti McGuire. Presiding over an era that saw tennis attract a new breed of passionate fans—from cops to tycoons—Connors transformed the game forever with his two-handed backhand, his two-fisted lifestyle, and his epic rivalries. The Outsider is a grand slam of a memoir written by a man once again at the top of his game—as feisty, unvarnished, and defiant as ever.

30 review for The Outsider: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    Not much to say about this one: I have never been a big fan of Jimmy Connors and his autobiography has just confirmed that I never will be.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kitty

    My opinion of Jimmy Connors did not change after reading this. I wanted to like him and at times actually felt sorry for him. I came away with the thought that because someone is blunt and in your face, it does not necessarily mean they are honest. (He, in fact, boasts all through the book of his absolute honesty) Tennis needed Connors like The Indy needs a wreck. I give him kudos for making the game interesting but grabbing his junk, demeaning the officials and foul language in a punk street lik My opinion of Jimmy Connors did not change after reading this. I wanted to like him and at times actually felt sorry for him. I came away with the thought that because someone is blunt and in your face, it does not necessarily mean they are honest. (He, in fact, boasts all through the book of his absolute honesty) Tennis needed Connors like The Indy needs a wreck. I give him kudos for making the game interesting but grabbing his junk, demeaning the officials and foul language in a punk street like fashion, was a turn off. He just came across like a bully. He admits to the one affair that everyone knows about, but I find it hard to believe that was his only stray. His innuendo about Chris Evert is shameful. I would hope that he gave her the heads up, that he needed to put "that" in his book. And what he had to write about Agassi sounded more like sour grapes in justifying his loss. Have no respect for him on so many levels, but did enjoy the book, and glad that I read it. It was a good trip down memory lane. Loved the play by play descriptions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Neal

    I love tennis, but I've never been a fan of Jimmy Connors. I thought I would enjoy this book because of my love for the game. Nope! This book just reiterated why I never cared for him as a player. He is just as much a pompous jerk in this book as he was on the court. It's amazing to think he actually faults himself for nothing. The only reason I stuck with this narcissistic tale was to see his take on tennis. If you really like tennis, don't waste your time. Read Andre Agassi's book or John McEn I love tennis, but I've never been a fan of Jimmy Connors. I thought I would enjoy this book because of my love for the game. Nope! This book just reiterated why I never cared for him as a player. He is just as much a pompous jerk in this book as he was on the court. It's amazing to think he actually faults himself for nothing. The only reason I stuck with this narcissistic tale was to see his take on tennis. If you really like tennis, don't waste your time. Read Andre Agassi's book or John McEnroe's book. They're more honest and better written.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Perry

    For Andre Agassi, tennis was famously about "the journey," about figuring out who he was and what he wanted -- and maybe, just maybe, growing up a little along the way. No wonder Jimmy Connors, in his new memoir "The Outsider," calls Agassi "nothing but an act." Because Connors doesn't believe anyone can change. You are who you are. There's no personal growth to be had, there's only pushing forward, trying harder. Read the rest of the review For Andre Agassi, tennis was famously about "the journey," about figuring out who he was and what he wanted -- and maybe, just maybe, growing up a little along the way. No wonder Jimmy Connors, in his new memoir "The Outsider," calls Agassi "nothing but an act." Because Connors doesn't believe anyone can change. You are who you are. There's no personal growth to be had, there's only pushing forward, trying harder. Read the rest of the review

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hundeschlitten

    More than any athlete, other than possibly boxers, tennis players seem to define themselves within the contours of individual will and personality. A lot of tennis greats have written bios in recent years, and each of them seems to have this seminal moment early in their lives that encapsulates how the player sees himself and how he approached the game. Often it takes the form of a tension between the player and the gentility of the greater tennis world. For John McEnroe, it was getting on the s More than any athlete, other than possibly boxers, tennis players seem to define themselves within the contours of individual will and personality. A lot of tennis greats have written bios in recent years, and each of them seems to have this seminal moment early in their lives that encapsulates how the player sees himself and how he approached the game. Often it takes the form of a tension between the player and the gentility of the greater tennis world. For John McEnroe, it was getting on the subway in New York and commuting to the tony private school where he learned to play, of the tension between his father's working class Irish roots and these rich kids he was now hanging with. For Andre Agassi, it was the image of standing there and watching his dad, a champion boxer back in Iran, beat the living crap out of someone in front of his son. For Jimmy Connors, it was an even more harrowing image: Standing on a public tennis court in East St. Louis as a 7-year old boy and watching as a couple of gangbangers pummeled his mom and his grandfather right there on the court, knocking out most of his mother's teeth and sending them both to the hospital. This, in a nutshell, is why I have always loved Jimmy Connors, because he was the real deal. Andre's rebel stance was always about image. He was the fair-haired boy with the elegant strokes, even when he was still just the son of an immigrant out hustling the members of the private tennis clubs in Las Vegas. McEnroe's working class blather always struck me as a bit ridiculous, as his dad was an attorney in NYC, and Mac's dream of being the next Eddie Van Halen just another rich kid's wet dream. But Connors earned his street cred the hard way. Connors game was that of the ultimate scrapper. He was relatively short and kind of scrawny, with only a mediocre serve. His best weapon was this flat, two-handed backhand that he'd rocket just inches above the net, leaving little room for error. Nothing that he did was textbook. He had a great forehand return of serve, where he would catch the ball right off the ground, but he learned it playing tennis off the hardwood in a public gym in Belleville, IL. As for Connors' autobiography, it is a bit hit and miss: A compelling story lies buried within his series of personal digressions and flippant attempts at humor. His telling of his tale makes it hard to separate Connors the combative athlete, changing the game of tennis while flipping the world the bird, from the silly young man drinking Suave Bolla on his Hollywood veranda, dreaming of being a playboy. People forget that Connors seemingly redefined tennis for about five years there in the early 70's, with his unconventional strokes and nasty attitude, until Borg and McEnroe came and restored order to the tennis universe, Borg with his athleticism and Johnny Mac with his incredible shot making. But for several years, Connors flew around the planet, taking on all rivals in these winner-take-all exhibitions, like a champion boxer, and he rarely lost. It is an era that doesn't fit in easily with our stat obsessed age, and for that reason alone I recommend this book. It is too bad that Jimmy Connors didn't co-author his biography with a writer worthy of the theme. Because, more than Mac's bio, more than even the most excellent "High Strung," Stephen Tignor's look at the rivalries of this era, Connors' bio is the missing puzzle piece, a first-hand look at this most magical time in the game.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    With Connors you get what you see. This book is no different. If you disliked Connors totally then you will not like this book. He disparages opponents, talks big and skips around a lot. On the other hand, if you want to know what being a kid learning tennis, a pro playing all over the world and a retired sports figure is like then this is a good book. Having been a big fan of tennis in the Connor's era and also living in St. Louis I was really interested in the story. It did not disappoint me at With Connors you get what you see. This book is no different. If you disliked Connors totally then you will not like this book. He disparages opponents, talks big and skips around a lot. On the other hand, if you want to know what being a kid learning tennis, a pro playing all over the world and a retired sports figure is like then this is a good book. Having been a big fan of tennis in the Connor's era and also living in St. Louis I was really interested in the story. It did not disappoint me at all. The writing isn't great but it feels authentic. Connors does dish on some people (like Chrissy) and holds back on others (the girlfriend he had while married) he is pretty honest for someone with a big ego. In a profession like tennis where you are on your own I think big egos are common. I liked the parts about Jimmy's family in East St. Louis and how often he came home. Not only was his mom huge in his tennis career (and much maligned) his grandparents were too. A memoir, not an autobiography, this is Jimmy's story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Groffie

    It was a fantastic book to read for several reasons. First it gave me an understanding of his life and all that went into his budding tennis career. The book allowed me to see the back story not just what we saw on TV. Second, reading about his career and professional relationships fascinated me mainly because every opponent was part of my tennis-following life. In today's game there is no personality - no desire to root for any single player. It is not and will not ever be the same. Third, his It was a fantastic book to read for several reasons. First it gave me an understanding of his life and all that went into his budding tennis career. The book allowed me to see the back story not just what we saw on TV. Second, reading about his career and professional relationships fascinated me mainly because every opponent was part of my tennis-following life. In today's game there is no personality - no desire to root for any single player. It is not and will not ever be the same. Third, his family life added to the read as is was the webbing of his life and it allowed me to see the whole story. I still miss watching Connors play but this book helped me to relive many great moments of his career. If you are an 80's tennis fan you will love the book and his stories.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Great book. I could relate to so many of his experiences as I played during that era and was a ball girl for him and many others mentioned.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    Boring book with little human interest. But as Conners would say about my opinion "Who gives a shit and f...k off".

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tim O'Neill

    I've read both Pete's and Andre's books and this one I liked the best

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katrin

    First I read The Outsiders. Then I read The Outsider. Currently looking for any book titled The Outside. k

  12. 5 out of 5

    S.G. Wright

    4.5 stars. I found this book (which I listened to as an audiobook) quite candid and exactly as I remember Jimmy Connors being ... brash, straightforward, unapologetic, himself, competitive etc. I loved tennis during Connors's era and this book is a highly entertaining look at those times and at Jimmy's life & career. I wasn't an avid fan of Connors back then (his behavior on the court was often abysmal), but after listening to his memoir I actually give him much more credit as a player & person 4.5 stars. I found this book (which I listened to as an audiobook) quite candid and exactly as I remember Jimmy Connors being ... brash, straightforward, unapologetic, himself, competitive etc. I loved tennis during Connors's era and this book is a highly entertaining look at those times and at Jimmy's life & career. I wasn't an avid fan of Connors back then (his behavior on the court was often abysmal), but after listening to his memoir I actually give him much more credit as a player & person than I did back then, ie he wasn't solely a pr*ck but actually cared for others (his group of friends and his family) and the game too. And as a player he was quite inspiring how he fought, won, & how long he played. I'm very glad he wrote this & that I got to it. Sure he had his demons & problems: his language, his vices, his gambling & adultery ... it's all here in the book.... but he has some touching moments as well: with his parents & wife, and even his chapter on Gerulaitis hit me hard. Pick it up if you get a chance.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    After reading the first few chapters, then "cherry picking" around the book, using the index to guide me, I finally gave up and threw in the proverbial towel. Therefore, my "1 star" rating should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I always knew that Jimmy Connors, the former "bad boy" of tennis was a cocky, selfish brat, but, I didn't know that he was a vindictive jerk who spilled a decades held secret concerning his former fiancee and fellow tennis star, Chris Evert. The fact that he would After reading the first few chapters, then "cherry picking" around the book, using the index to guide me, I finally gave up and threw in the proverbial towel. Therefore, my "1 star" rating should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I always knew that Jimmy Connors, the former "bad boy" of tennis was a cocky, selfish brat, but, I didn't know that he was a vindictive jerk who spilled a decades held secret concerning his former fiancee and fellow tennis star, Chris Evert. The fact that he would reveal a very personal episode that she had never revealed, and reveal it while she is still very much alive, shows Connors for the completely boorish and ignorant fool he presents in this over-long and over-blown memoir. Chris Evert is lucky that she never married him. Connors should stick to tennis instruction or golf or gambling or whatever, because writing is clearly not his thing! My only regret is that I wasted a few days on this steaming manure pile - my bad!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    Having really been into tennis during the Jimmy Connors era and being from St. Louis where we heard more about his family than most I really enjoyed his book. Don't get me wrong, I am not a huge fan but I think this book really opens up the world of tennis of all levels to the outsiders. It really took me back hearing all those names from tennis in the past. Jimmy's family life was also interesting. His relationship with his mother was well known but also this book explains more about his father Having really been into tennis during the Jimmy Connors era and being from St. Louis where we heard more about his family than most I really enjoyed his book. Don't get me wrong, I am not a huge fan but I think this book really opens up the world of tennis of all levels to the outsiders. It really took me back hearing all those names from tennis in the past. Jimmy's family life was also interesting. His relationship with his mother was well known but also this book explains more about his father and grandparents I wondered why the book was called a memoir but now that I know a memoir means sections taken from a person's life as opposed to an autobiography which is chronological I like the book more. It does skip around! For those who never liked Jimmy Connors, you will like him less if you read this book. He admits faults but does not apologize for them and frequently disparages former competitors. This book, like Jimmy Connors is open and brash.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rob Duford

    Jimmy Connors was a childhood hero of mine. When I picked up tennis in the 7th grade I became addicted to watching him, McEnroe, Edberg, Becker, and Agassi bring tennis to the front page of the sports section. This book is written just as though Jimmy were speaking. It's not always grammatically correct, but it sure does get the point across. He's vulnerable, humorous, and opinionated. I loved getting a front row seat to both his tennis and personal world. I didn't want this book to end. I wish t Jimmy Connors was a childhood hero of mine. When I picked up tennis in the 7th grade I became addicted to watching him, McEnroe, Edberg, Becker, and Agassi bring tennis to the front page of the sports section. This book is written just as though Jimmy were speaking. It's not always grammatically correct, but it sure does get the point across. He's vulnerable, humorous, and opinionated. I loved getting a front row seat to both his tennis and personal world. I didn't want this book to end. I wish there was another 400 pages to read. If you read this book be ready to feel the pain as he watches his mom get beat up by thugs when he was a young child, feel the passion as he discovers the beauty of tennis as his mom grooms him, experience the highs and lows of professional tennis, and hurt when he goes through personal darkness including the dissolving of his marriage (followed by the redemption). If you love tennis this is a must read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Len

    The Outsider is truly a reflection of its author. Jimmy Connors writes as if he were sharing his life story with a friend with whom he was having a quiet drink. He tells you about his tennis career (the hard work, the victories, the many injuries and the defeats). But, he also reveals sides of his personality that many of his fans, myself included, were unaware. Connors struggled with an addiction to gambling for many years. He had an affair that almost destroyed his marriage. However, the one f The Outsider is truly a reflection of its author. Jimmy Connors writes as if he were sharing his life story with a friend with whom he was having a quiet drink. He tells you about his tennis career (the hard work, the victories, the many injuries and the defeats). But, he also reveals sides of his personality that many of his fans, myself included, were unaware. Connors struggled with an addiction to gambling for many years. He had an affair that almost destroyed his marriage. However, the one facet of his life that truly tells us the most about him in this story is his sense of loyalty. Connors, throughout his life, has been loyal to the ones he cared about, his family and many of his on-court rivals, many of whom became his close personal friends. I highly recommend this book to those of you were fans of the game of tennis during Connor's era and anyone who enjoys a no-frills down to earth autobiography.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen & Gerard

    I always enjoyed watching Jimmy Connors play tennis, so it was a no brainer that I would read his memoir called The Outsider. I especially liked reading about his young teen years and found his comments on his fellow players interesting. The part with his on-again, off-again relationship with Chris Evert was very good also. (Gerard's review)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    he writes the way he played - straight at you. He was the seismic shift that brought the game to the boomer generation. I wish he and Ashe hadn't had such a rocky relationship. They were both my tennis heroes. Ashe taught me how to act, court courtesy, sportsmanship Connors showed me how to play your heart out. - Never quite, grind in out!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Overall, the book moved quickly and was easy to read. Despite its length I read it in about a week. He definitely lays bare his vices and indiscretions, along with those of some of his friends. I was on the fence about giving it three or four stars, and if I were more of a tennis fan I probably would have rated it higher. He gives a lot of good detail about his preparation and strategy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenny T.

    I got to follow Jimmy Connors in the second half of his tennis career, so it was interesting to read about his family life and tennis "history." The book had a lot of name dropping and did not go into as much depth as I would have liked about some of his career highs.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Hale

    I gave this book 3 stars because it was like a train wreck and I just couldn't stop watching the carnage. This is definitely a no holds barred memoir and if you ever pissed off Jimmy Connors, you are probably mentioned in this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    He should just stick to tennis.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    I gave this two stars instead of one because he did something I didn't think was possible...he proved he's more of an a$$hat than I could have imagined.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marianne Fanning

    Bit of a whiney-baby!!! He is definitely pompous and egotistical.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    It was a good book for anyone who watched Jimmy Connors play tennis!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Not much here...read "Open: An Autobiography" by Andre Agassi...much better

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jody

    It's a sports autobiography so naturally the writing is terrible. But there are lots of interesting anecdotes here for tennis fans. Connors begins the book by writing about how his earliest and most influential coaches were his mother and grandmother, leading him to opine that he played "a woman's game taught to a man." Inspired by his matriarchal influence, he shows an atypical (for most male players) appreciation for women's tennis and female players, which reminds me somewhat of Andy Murray i It's a sports autobiography so naturally the writing is terrible. But there are lots of interesting anecdotes here for tennis fans. Connors begins the book by writing about how his earliest and most influential coaches were his mother and grandmother, leading him to opine that he played "a woman's game taught to a man." Inspired by his matriarchal influence, he shows an atypical (for most male players) appreciation for women's tennis and female players, which reminds me somewhat of Andy Murray in the modern era. Murray might be the first top player since Connors to be coached by a woman. Connors has nothing but praise for legendary WTA stars like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. Chris Evert gets special attention as his former lover. By contrast, when it comes to his old rivals he is as acidic as one would expect. Connors offers praises galore for his old pals Ilie Nastase and Vitas Gerulaitis. He writes with begrudging respect for John McEnroe but doesn't pretend that they're friendly. Somewhat surprisingly, he reserves most of his cheap shots for Arthur Ashe and Andre Agassi. Connors and Ashe had first fallen out when the former sued the ATP in the early 70s, and the tension between them came to a boil over a Davis Cup feud in 1975. Ashe, who had labeled Connors unpatriotic for neglecting to play Davis Cup ties, wore a Team USA jacket to their Wimbledon final that year as a jab at Connors. Relations between them obviously hadn't improved by 1984, when Ashe was the acting Davis Cup coach and recruited Connors to play the finals in Sweden. Feeling snubbed by an early practice session that he'd missed, Connors traced "Fuck you, Artie" in the clay. That final vs. Sweden is still notorious, with Connors and McEnroe both at their brattiest and showing their asses like never before. It led the USTA to create a code of conduct for team behavior, and I recall that Ashe wrote in his memoir, Days of Grace, about how embarrassing and shameful he found the entire affair as the coach. Connors espouses pure contempt for Agassi, whom he essentially labels a poser and a liar. He is offended by the critical view of tennis that Agassi took in his 2009 memoir, Open. For Connors, the sport gave Agassi everything ("including his wife") and he took it all for granted and insulted fans. He writes that, unlike Agassi, he had no interest in "pretending to be something I wasn't." Connors was acting as Andy Roddick's coach and present at Flushing Meadows during the 2006 US Open, where Agassi lost a career-ending match to Benjamin Becker. Connors makes a point of noting that when Agassi entered the locker room and everyone else in attendance stood and applauded, he did neither. When Connors writes that he declined to take a "dumb ass farewell tour," that feels like a dig at Agassi too. Moral of the story: there's plenty of backbiting and settling of scores here if that's what you're after. Jimmy Connors was the first of a string of "bad boy" figures who ruled tennis in the 1970s and 80s. The vulgar, confrontational behavior of players like Connors, McEnroe, Nastase, and Cliff Richey has fallen far out of favor today. Still, I think Connors makes a strong case that his cohort was the most responsible for democratizing the sport. Or, as he writes in his final chapter, "We moved tennis from those gated country clubs to the streets." For Connors, playing tennis was "as much about entertainment as it was about hitting the ball down the line." No matter how much the gentlemanly players of the modern era might dismiss the outrageous antics of their forebears, that earlier generation undoubtedly fueled the enduring popularity of tennis and are most responsible for the oversized paychecks that players enjoy today.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Jimmy Connors paints a vivid reminder of how complex people are. I first got interested in tennis, like millions of Americans, in the mid-1970s. My two strongest memories of those days were Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs in the Astrodome, and Jimmy Connors beating everybody while pissing them off. Growing up in New Hampshire, I was drawn to Connors as the upstart from a small town catching the establishment by surprise. Then I got tired of the antics, preferring the cooler measured excelle Jimmy Connors paints a vivid reminder of how complex people are. I first got interested in tennis, like millions of Americans, in the mid-1970s. My two strongest memories of those days were Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs in the Astrodome, and Jimmy Connors beating everybody while pissing them off. Growing up in New Hampshire, I was drawn to Connors as the upstart from a small town catching the establishment by surprise. Then I got tired of the antics, preferring the cooler measured excellence of Borg. But starting with his 1982 Wimbledon win over the new bad boy, John McEnroe, I grew to appreciate Connors' passion and commitment to the sport, punching over his weight at a stage when retirement would have been understandable. Reading this book brought back all those memories, setting them beside the author's and giving me a fuller picture of the man. I see how the claims of "momma's boy" give short shrift to the dedication of his mother and grandmother, without whom he would never have made it. I see how the antics, which after a while seemed staged and not genuine, were to him attempts to expand tennis' audience beyond the country club. I see that the gambling and the relationship travails and the isolation from the tennis establishment were extensions of a man who knew one way to move: full speed ahead, on instinct. But the book also reveals that he has learned about himself, mended lots of fences, and has figured out the centrality of his family to his life. The same lesson his mother taught him.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Growing up, Jimmy Connors was one of my favorite tennis players (though I started following him as his career was winding down). One of my most-vivid tennis memories is, as a tennis-obsessed 14-year-old, watching his run at the 1991 U.S. Open. Cheering for a 39-year-old to beat players nearly half his age on his "home" court made for riveting television. Reading (or rather, hearing the audiobook version) about that incredible run in his own words instantly brought back good memories, and for tha Growing up, Jimmy Connors was one of my favorite tennis players (though I started following him as his career was winding down). One of my most-vivid tennis memories is, as a tennis-obsessed 14-year-old, watching his run at the 1991 U.S. Open. Cheering for a 39-year-old to beat players nearly half his age on his "home" court made for riveting television. Reading (or rather, hearing the audiobook version) about that incredible run in his own words instantly brought back good memories, and for that reason alone, I probably enjoyed this book more than many. I never believed Connors was a saint, simply from seeing his on-court antics. He's pretty upfront about that in his book. He describes himself as a loner, an outsider (obviously), and a fierce competitor who played to the beat of his own drum. It's difficult in reading memoirs to take everything at face value. Not only does time erode memories, but the author is also in a place to incorporate some revisionist history in the telling of his life story. That said, I found what seemed to be warts-and-all storytelling refreshing, and believe I gained a fairly thorough insight into who Connors is as a tennis player and as a person.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    "What have you been reading, Michelle?" "I just finished John McEnroe's autobiography." "Oooh, I liked him. He's good on the tv." "And now I'm reading Connors' autobiography." "Oh, I like him, too. Mama used to like him. She liked the tennis." I hope McEnroe and Connors appreciate bringing tennis to a decidedly non-country-club New York City family. Jimmy went through the motions in this book similar to what McEnroe did in his. Both start on an important match, go back to the beginning, through their "What have you been reading, Michelle?" "I just finished John McEnroe's autobiography." "Oooh, I liked him. He's good on the tv." "And now I'm reading Connors' autobiography." "Oh, I like him, too. Mama used to like him. She liked the tennis." I hope McEnroe and Connors appreciate bringing tennis to a decidedly non-country-club New York City family. Jimmy went through the motions in this book similar to what McEnroe did in his. Both start on an important match, go back to the beginning, through their careers, to present day. Besides their places of birth, they have similar stories, were in many 0f the same places at the same time, partied with some famous people. And now they are so bored they are writing their memoirs and lamenting how current players' coddling "wouldn't have happened in my day" in typical old-man fashion. This one gets two stars because Jimmy is a little more forthcoming than Johnnie, even if probably much of it is bull. I'm bringing Agassi's "Open" to the US Open and hope to read it while sipping Lavazza. I have a feeling it will dwarf these two books.

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