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Jimmy Connors

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Jimmy Connors

Jimmy Connors
Connors at the 1978 ABN Tennis Tournament holding his Wilson T2000 steel racket.
Full name James Scott Connors
Country (sports)  United States
Residence Santa Barbara, California
Born (1952-09-02) September 2, 1952
East St. Louis, Illinois
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Turned pro 1972
Retired 1996
Plays Left-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize money US$ 8,641,040
Int. Tennis HoF 1998 (member page)
Career record 1254–278 (81.9% at Grand Slam, Grand Prix tour, WCT tour, ATP Tour level, and in Davis Cup)
Career titles 109 (listed by ATP)
Highest ranking No. 1 (July 29, 1974)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open W (1974)
French Open SF (1979, 1980, 1984, 1985)
Wimbledon W (1974, 1982)
US Open W (1974, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1983)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals W (1977)
WCT Finals W (1977, 1980)
Career record 174–78 (68.9% at Grand Slam, Grand Prix tour, WCT tour, ATP Tour level, and in Davis Cup)
Career titles 16
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open 3R (1974)
French Open F (1973)
Wimbledon W (1973)
US Open W (1975)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1981)
Coaching career (2006–)

James Scott "Jimmy" Connors (born September 2, 1952)[1] is an American former world No. 1 tennis player, often considered among the greatest in the history of the sport.[2] He held the top ranking for a then-record 160 consecutive weeks from July 29, 1974 to August 22, 1977 and an additional eight times during his career for a total of 268 weeks. He also held a year-end top ten ranking for an Open Era record 16 years.

By virtue of his long and prolific career, Connors still holds three prominent Open Era singles records: 109 titles, 1532 matches played, and 1254 match wins. His titles include eight majors (five US Opens, two Wimbledons, and one Australian Open), three year-end championships, and 17 Grand Prix Super Series. In 1974 he became the second man in the Open Era to win three majors in a calendar year, and his total career match win rate of 81.9% remains in the top four of the era.

Connors was notorious for his fiery competitiveness, acrimonious relationships with a number of peers, and boorish behavior that pandered to the crowd. For these reasons he has been likened to baseball player Pete Rose, a comparison Connors is proud of.[3]


  • Career 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Peak years 1.2
    • Contemporaries and rivalries 1.3
      • Björn Borg 1.3.1
      • Ilie Năstase 1.3.2
      • Manuel Orantes and Guillermo Vilas 1.3.3
      • Rod Laver and John Newcombe 1.3.4
    • Maverick 1.4
    • Later years 1.5
      • John McEnroe 1.5.1
      • Ivan Lendl 1.5.2
      • Other matches 1.5.3
    • Distinctions and honors 1.6
  • Playing style 2
    • Racket evolution 2.1
  • Commentating 3
  • Coaching 4
  • Author 5
  • Personal life 6
  • Career statistics 7
    • Grand Slam tournament and Year-End Championship performance timeline 7.1
    • Records 7.2
  • Professional awards 8
  • See also 9
  • Notes 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
    • Video 12.1
  • External links 13


Early years

Connors grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. He played in his first U.S. Championship, the U.S. boys' 11-and-under of 1961, when he was nine years old. Connors' mother, Gloria, took him to Southern California to be coached by Pancho Segura, starting at age 16, in 1968.[4]

In 1970, Connors recorded his first victory in the first round of the Pacific Southwest Open in Los Angeles, defeating Roy Emerson.

In 1971, Connors won the NCAA singles title as a Freshman while attending the University of California, Los Angeles, and attaining All-American status. He turned professional in 1972 and won his first tournament, the Jacksonville Open.

Connors was acquiring a reputation as a maverick in 1972 when he refused to join the newly formed Arthur Ashe in a five-set final, 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 3–6, 6–2.

Peak years

Connors won eight Grand Slam singles championships: five US Opens, two Wimbledons, and one Australian Open. He did not participate in the French Open during his peak years (1974–78) and only played in two Australian Opens in his entire career, winning it in 1974 and reaching the final in 1975.

Connors playing

In 1974, Connors was the dominant player. He had a 99–4 record that year and won 15 tournaments, including three of the four Grand Slam singles titles. The French Open did not allow Connors to participate due to his association with World Team Tennis (WTT).[5][6] However, he won the Australian Open, defeating Phil Dent in four sets. He also beat Ken Rosewall in straight sets in the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open. His exclusion from the French Open denied him the opportunity to become the first man player since Rod Laver to win all four Major singles titles in a calendar year.

Connors reached the final of the US Open in five straight years from 1974 through 1978, winning three times with each win being on a different surface (1974 on grass, 1976 on clay and 1978 on hard). He reached the final of Wimbledon four out of five years during his peak (1974, 1975, 1977 and 1978). Despite not being allowed to play in the French Open for a number of years, he was still able to reach the semifinals four times in his career.

In the open era, Connors is one of only six men to win three or more Grand Slam singles titles in a calendar year. Others include: Rod Laver who won the Grand Slam in 1969; Mats Wilander won the Australian, French and US Open in 1988; Roger Federer won the Australian, Wimbledon and US Open in 2004, 2006 and 2007; Rafael Nadal won the French, Wimbledon, and US Open in 2010; and Novak Djokovic won the Australian, Wimbledon, and US Open in 2011 and 2015.

Connors reached the world No. 1 ranking on July 29, 1974 and held it for 160 consecutive weeks, a record until it was surpassed by Roger Federer on February 26, 2007. He was the year-end no. 1 player from 1974 through 1978 and held the world No. 1 ranking for a total of 268 weeks during his career.

Contemporaries and rivalries

Prominent contemporary players with Connors included Vitas Gerulaitis, Ivan Lendl, and John McEnroe.

Björn Borg

During his best years of 1974 through 1978, Connors was challenged the most by Borg, with twelve matches on tour during that time frame. Borg won only four of those meetings, but two of those wins were in the Wimbledon finals of 1977 and 1978. Connors lost his stranglehold on the top ranking to Borg in early 1979 and wound up with an official tour record of 8–15 against Borg. Although Borg is four years younger and won the last ten times they met, Connors won most exhibitions and senior tour matches against Borg, putting Connors ahead of Borg in overall wins (see Borg-Connors rivalry). Head to head in major championship finals, they split their four meetings, Borg winning two Wimbledons (1977 & 1978) and Connors winning two US Opens (1976 & 1978).

Ilie Năstase

Nastase was another rival in Connors' prime. Though six years older than Connors, Nastase won ten of their first 11 meetings. However, Connors won eleven of their final fourteen meetings. The two would team up to win the doubles championships at the 1973 Wimbledon and the 1975 US Open.

Manuel Orantes and Guillermo Vilas

Orantes upset Connors in the final of the 1975 US Open, but Connors is 11–3 overall against Orantes in tour events. On the other hand, Vilas wore down Connors in the final of the 1977 US Open and was much more competitive in all of their meetings. Connors was only able to manage a 5–4 record against Vilas in tour events.

Rod Laver and John Newcombe

In 1975, Connors won two highly touted "Challenge Matches", both arranged by the Riordan company and televised nationally by CBS Sports from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first match, in February and billed as $100,000 ($438,281 today) winner-takes-all, was against Laver. Connors won that match, 6–4, 6–2, 3–6, 7–5. In April, Connors met Newcombe in a match billed as a $250,000 winner-takes-all. Connors won the match, 6–3, 4–6, 6–2, 6–4. Connors ended his business relationship with Riordan later in 1975.

Connors played Newcombe in four tour events, with Newcombe winning the first two meetings on grass (1973 US Open quarterfinal and 1975 Australian Open final) and Connors winning the last two on hard courts (1978 Sydney Indoor quarterfinal and 1979 Hong Kong round of 16). Connors won all three meetings with Rod Laver in tour events.


In 1974, Connors and Riordan began filing lawsuits, amounting to $10 million, against the ATP and its president, Arthur Ashe, for allegedly restricting his freedom in the game. The lawsuits stemmed from the French Open banning Connors in 1974 after he had signed a contract to play World Team Tennis (WTT) for the Baltimore Banners. Connors was seeking to enter the French Open, but the ATP and French officials opposed WTT because of scheduling conflicts, so the entries of WTT players were refused between 1974 and 1978. Connors dropped Riordan and eventually the lawsuits after losing to Ashe in the 1975 Wimbledon final (according to the official film produced by Wimbledon 1975, his $2 million suit against Ashe was still outstanding when the two met in the 1975 Wimbledon final).

At Wimbledon in 1977, he refused to participate in a parade of former champions to celebrate the tournament's centenary, choosing instead to practice in the grounds with Ilie Nastase while the parade took place. In 2000 he also declined to join a gathering of 58 former champions held to mark the millennium. In his 2013 autobiography Connors blamed his missing the 1977 parade on the All England Club for not letting his doctor onto the grounds so that Connors could try on a customized splint for a thumb injury. Connors explained that this necessitated his rushing to meet the doctor at the entrance to the grounds, and then convincing Nastase to help him try out the splint on a practice court. By Connors’ account, he then rushed to Centre Court for the parade, but was too late. He was booed when he played his first round match the next day. Reaching the final, he lost in five sets to Borg, who a month later was able briefly to interrupt Connors's long hold on the world No. 1 ranking. Connors also irritated sponsors and tennis officials by shunning the end-of-year Masters championship from 1974 through 1976. However, he entered this round-robin competition in 1977 when it moved to New York City. Although Connors lost a celebrated late-night match to Vilas, 4–6, 6–3, 5–7, he took the title by defeating Borg in the final, 6–4, 1–6, 6–4.

Later years

Connors had shining moments against John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, both of whom rose to prominence after Connors peaked in the mid-1970s. He would continue to compete against much younger players and had one of the most remarkable comebacks for any athlete when he reached the semifinals of the 1991 US Open at the age of 39.

John McEnroe

In the 1980 WCT Finals, Connors defeated the defending champion, 1987 Wimbledon Championships, Connors defeated Mikael Pernfors, ten years his junior, 1–6, 1–6, 7–5, 6–4, 6–2, after having trailed 4–1 in the third set and 3–0 in the fourth set. In July 1988, Connors ended a four-year title drought by winning the Sovran Bank Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C. It was the 106th title of his career. Connors had played in 56 tournaments and 12 finals since his previous victory in the Tokyo Indoors against Lendl in October 1984.

At the 1989 US Open, Connors defeated the third seed (and future two-time champion), Stefan Edberg, in straight sets in the fourth round and pushed sixth-seeded Andre Agassi to five sets in a quarterfinal.

His career seemed to be at an end in 1990, when he played only three tournament matches and lost all three, dropping to no. 936 in the world rankings. However, after surgery on his deteriorating left wrist, he came back to play 14 tournaments in 1991. An ailing back forced him to retire from a five-sets match in the third round of the French Open against Michael Chang, the 1989 champion. Connors walked off the court after hitting a winner against Chang.

Connors recuperated and made an improbable run to the 1991 US Open semifinals which he later said were "the best 11 days of my tennis career."[7] On his 39th birthday he defeated 24-year-old Aaron Krickstein, 3–6, 7–6, 1–6, 6–3, 7–6, in 4 hours and 41 minutes, coming back from a 2–5 deficit in the final set. Connors then defeated Paul Haarhuis in the quarterfinals before losing to Jim Courier. 22 years later ESPN aired a documentary commemorating Connors' run.[3]

Connors participated in his last major tournament in the 1992 US Open, where he beat Jaime Oncins, 6–1, 6–2, 6–3, in the first round, before losing to Lendl (then ranked no. 7), 6–3, 3–6, 2–6, 0–6, in the second round.

In September 1992, Connors played Martina Navratilova in the third Battle of the Sexes tennis match at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Connors was allowed only one serve per point and Navratilova was allowed to hit into half the doubles court. Connors won, 7–5, 6–2.

However, this would not be the end of his playing career. As late as June 1995, three months shy of his 43rd birthday Connors beat Sébastien Lareau, 6–4, 7–6, and Martin Sinner, 7–6, 6–0, to progress to the quarterfinals of the Halle event in Germany. Connors lost this quarterfinal, 6–7, 3–6 to Marc Rosset. Connors' last match on the main ATP tour came in April 1996, when he lost, 2–6, 6–3, 1–6, to Richey Reneberg in Atlanta.[8]

Distinctions and honors

Connors won a male record 109 singles titles.[9] He also won 15 doubles titles (including the men's doubles titles at Wimbledon in 1973 and the US Open in 1975).

In his 1979 autobiography, Jack Kramer, the long-time tennis promoter and great player himself, ranked Connors as one of the 21 best players of all time.[10]

Connors won more matches (1,337) than any other male professional tennis player in the open era. His career win-loss record was 1,337–285 for a winning percentage of 82.4. He played 401 tournaments and through many years it was a record until Fabrice Santoro overcame it in 2008.[11]

Connors was the only player to win the US Open on three different surfaces: grass, clay, and hard. He was also the first male tennis player to win Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces: grass (1974), clay (1976), and hard (1978).

In Grand Slam Singles events, Connors reached the semifinals or better a total of 31 times and the quarterfinals or better a total of 41 times. These achievements are particularly remarkable considering that he entered the Australian Open Men's Singles only twice and did not enter the French Open Men's Singles for five of his peak career years. The 31 semifinals stood as a record until surpassed by Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2012. The 41 quarterfinals remained an all-time record until Roger Federer surpassed it at Wimbledon 2014.

Connors was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998 and Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Hall of Fame in 1986. He also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[12]

Playing style

In the modern era of power tennis, Connors style of play has often been cited as highly influential, especially in the development of the flat backhand. Larry Schwartz on said about Connors, "His biggest weapons were an indomitable spirit, a two-handed backhand and the best service return in the game. It is difficult to say which was more instrumental in Connors becoming a champion. ... Though smaller than most of his competitors, Connors didn't let it bother him, making up for a lack of size with determination."[13] Of his own competitive nature Connors has said, "[T]here's always somebody out there who's willing to push it that extra inch, or mile, and that was me. (Laughter) I didn't care if it took me 30 minutes or five hours. If you beat me, you had to be the best, or the best you had that day. But that was my passion for the game. If I won, I won, and if I lost, well, I didn't take it so well."[1]

His on-court antics, designed to get the crowd involved, both helped and hurt his play. Schwartz said, "While tennis fans enjoyed Connors' gritty style and his never-say-die attitude, they often were shocked by his antics. His sometimes vulgar on-court behavior—like giving the finger to a linesman after disagreeing with a call or strutting about the court with the tennis racket handle between his legs; sometimes he would yank on the handle in a grotesque manner and his fans would go wild or groan in disapproval—did not help his approval rating. During the early part of his career, Connors frequently argued with umpires, linesmen, the players union, Davis Cup officials and other players. He was even booed at Wimbledon – a rare show of disapproval there—for snubbing the Parade of Champions on the first day of the Centenary in 1977."[13] His brash behavior both on and off the court earned him a reputation as the brat of the tennis world. Tennis commentator Bud Collins nicknamed Connors the "Brash Basher of Belleville" after the St Louis suburb where he grew up.[14] But Connors himself thrived on the energy of the crowd, positive or negative, and manipulated and exploited it to his advantage in many of the greatest matches of his career.

Connors was taught to hit the ball on the rise by his teaching-pro mother, Gloria Connors, a technique he used to defeat the opposition in the early years of his career. Gloria sent her son to Southern California to work with Pancho Segura at the age of 16. Segura advanced Connors' game of hitting the ball on the rise which enabled Connors to reflect the power and velocity of his opponents back at them. Segura was the master strategist in developing Jimmy's complete game. In the 1975 Wimbledon final, Arthur Ashe countered this strategy by taking the pace off the ball, giving Connors only soft junk shots (dinks, drop shots, and lobs) to hit.

In an era when the serve and volley was the norm,

External links

  • Charlie Rose with Jimmy Connors (August 7, 1995) Studio: Charlie Rose, DVD Release Date: October 5, 2006, ASIN: B000JCF3S8
  • Biography: Jimmy Connors DVD A&E 2002.
  • Jimmy Connors Presents Tennis Fundamentals: Comprehensive, Starring: Jimmy Connors; Chris Evert, Foundation Sports, DVD Release Date: May 1, 2006, Run Time: 172 minutes, ASIN: B000FVQWCY.
  • Wimbledon 1975 Final: Ashe vs. Connors Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: October 30, 2007, Run Time: 120 minutes, ASIN: B000V02CTQ.


  • Seebohm, Caroline, (2009), Little Pancho

Further reading

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Tennis Magazine ranked Connors the third best male player of the period 1965–2005.
  3. ^ a b ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary This is What They Want
  4. ^ Caroline Seebohm: Little Pancho (2009)
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ ATP World Tour, Official Website. Player Information Jimmy Connors. Main Website
  9. ^ James Scott Connors- International Hall of Fame
  10. ^ Kramer considered the best player ever to have been either Henri Cochet and René Lacoste accurately but felt they were among the very best.
  11. ^ James Scott Connors
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ Bud Collins Joins ESPN
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b c
  18. ^
  19. ^ Ex-Tennis Great Jimmy Connors to Work for Tennis Channel, January 28, 2009
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "'Lovebird Double' who ruled Wimbledon", The Independent, June 19, 2004. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  25. ^ E! True Hollywood Story: Wheel of Fortune. (television program) E! Network, 2005.
  26. ^ Griffin, Merv. Merv: Making the Good Life Last. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003, page 103.
  27. ^
  28. ^ Alystra to rise again? – Las Vegas Business Press – January 29, 2007
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Jimmy Connors Cleared!, February 10, 2009
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ a b
  39. ^ a b c d
  40. ^


  1. ^ The final took 1 hour, 18 minutes to complete in 20 games.[35]


See also

Professional awards


Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open W F NH 1 / 2 11–1[34] 91.67
French Open 2R 1R SF SF QF QF QF SF SF QF 2R 3R 1R 0 / 13 40–13 75.47
Wimbledon QF QF W F QF F F SF SF SF W 4R F SF 1R SF 4R 2R 3R 1R 2 / 20 84–18 82.35
US Open 1R 2R 1R QF W F W F W SF SF SF W W SF SF 3R SF QF QF SF 2R 5 / 22 98–17 85.22
W–L 0–1 1–1 5–3 8–3 20–0 17–3 11–1 12–2 13–1 15–3 15–3 14–3 18–1 14–2 16–3 15–3 2–2 14–3 7–2 6–3 0–0 9–3 1–3 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 8 / 57 233–49 82.62
Year End Championships
Masters Cup SF SF W RR SF SF RR SF SF SF RR 1 / 11 18–17 51.43
WCT Finals W RR W F SF 2 / 5 10–3 76.92
W–L 2–2 2–2 7–1 1–1 3–3 6–1 1–2 1–1 1–1 3–2 1–1 0–3 3 / 16 28–20 58.33
Ranking 3 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 3 2 3 2 4 8 4 7 14 936 49 84 370 672 419 1300 $ 8,641,040
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated either at the conclusion of a tournament, or when the player's participation in the tournament has ended.

Won tournament; or reached Final; Semifinal; Quarter-final; Round 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a Round Robin stage; lost in Qualification Round; absent from tournament event; played in a Davis Cup - / Fed Cup Zonal Group (with its number indication) or Play-off; won a bronze, silver (F or S) or gold medal at the Olympics; a downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament (Not a Masters Series); or a tournament that was Not Held in a given year.


Grand Slam tournament and Year-End Championship performance timeline

Career statistics

On November 21, 2008, Connors was arrested outside a NCAA Basketball game between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of California at Santa Barbara after refusing to comply with an order to leave an area near the entrance to the stadium.[31] The charges were dismissed by a judge on February 10, 2009.[32][33]

On January 8, 2007, Connors' mother and long-time coach, Gloria, died at the age of 82.[30]

In October 2005, Connors had successful hip-replacement surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

In the 1990s he joined his brother John Connors as investors in the Argosy Gaming Company which owned riverboat casinos on the Mississippi River. The two owned 19 percent of the company which was headquartered in the St. Louis metropolitan area of East Alton, Illinois.[27] Argosy narrowly averted bankruptcy in the late 1990s and Connors' brother John personally sought Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In the liquidation, Connors, through his company, Smooth Swing, acquired the Alystra Casino in Henderson, Nevada, for $1.9 million from Union Planters Bank, which had foreclosed on John. John had opened the casino in 1995 with announced plans to include a Jimmy Connors theme area.[28] It was shuttered in 1998 and became a magnet for homeless and thieves who stripped its copper piping. The casino never reopened under Connors' ownership and it was destroyed in a May 2008 fire.[29]

In the fall of 1988, Connors auditioned to host the NBC daytime version of Wheel of Fortune, a show he and his wife "never missed an episode" of.[25] However, the job went to Rolf Benirschke. According to show creator Merv Griffin, many news outlets tried to get their hands on Connors' audition tape, but Griffin refused to release it because he said "it wouldn't have been fair to Jimmy".[26]

Former Miss World Marjorie Wallace was engaged to Connors in 1977 but in 1979, Connors married Playboy model Patti McGuire. They have two children and live in the Santa Barbara, California area.[24]

Connors was engaged to fellow tennis pro Chris Evert and together they both triumphed in the singles events at the 1974 Wimbledon Championships; a feat labelled "The Lovebird Double" by the media. Their engagement was broken off shortly before the 1975 Wimbledon championship. In May 2013, Connors wrote his autobiography in which he alleged that Chris Evert, a Roman Catholic, was pregnant with their child and she unilaterally made the decision to have it aborted.[21][22][23]

In 1968, Connors' mother Gloria sent her son to work with Pancho Segura in Southern California.

Personal life

In 2013, Connors published his autobiography The Outsider. It won the British Sports Book Awards in the "Best Autobiography/Biography" category.[20]


In July 2013 former women's world No. 1 Maria Sharapova announced on her website that Connors was her new coach. On August 15, 2013 Sharapova confirmed that she had ended the partnership with Connors after just one match together.

On July 24, 2006, at the start of the Countrywide Classic tournament in Los Angeles, American tennis player Andy Roddick formally announced his partnership with Connors as his coach. On March 6, 2008, Roddick announced the end of that 19-month relationship.


Connors did commentary with NBC-TV in 1990 and 1991, during its coverage of the French Open and Wimbledon tournaments. During the Wimbledon tournaments of 2005, 2006, and 2007, Connors commentated for the BBC alongside John McEnroe (among others), providing moments of heated discussion between two former archrivals. Connors returned to BBC commentary at Wimbledon in 2014. Connors has also served as a commentator and analyst for the Tennis Channel since the US Open tournament of 2009.[19]


Connors used lead tape which he would wind around the racket head to provide the proper "feel" for his style of game.

At the Tokyo Indoor in October 1983 Connors switched to a new mid-size graphite racket, the Wilson ProStaff, that had been designed especially for him and he used it on the 1984 tour.[18] But 1985 again found Connors playing with the T2000. In 1987 he finally switched to a graphite racket when he signed a contract with Slazenger to play their Panther Pro Ceramic. In 1990 Connors signed with Estusa.[17]

At a time when most other tennis pros played with wooden rackets, Connors pioneered the "Wilson T2000" steel racket, which utilized a method for stringing that had been devised and patented by Lacoste in 1953.[16][17] He played with this chrome tubular steel racket until 1984, when most other pros had shifted to new racket technologies, materials, and designs.[17]

Racket evolution

His lack of a dominating serve and net game, combined with his individualist style and maverick tendencies, meant that he was not as successful in doubles as he was in singles, although he did win Grand Slam titles with Ilie Năstase, reached a final with Chris Evert, and accumulated 15 doubles titles during his career.

Some considered his forehand to be his greatest weakness, especially on extreme pressure points, as it lacked the safety margin of hard forehands hit with topspin. His serve, while accurate and capable, was never a great weapon for him as it did not reach the velocity and power of his opponents. [15]

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