Airing at 8pm tonight, 10/29/13, was a tremendous, hour long production of the improbable Jimmy Connors US Open run of 1991. The run itself is entertaining but his attitude towards competing is what sets this type of story apart. Hearing Chuck Klosterman give his insight on Connor’s mindset is equally intriguing because he’s the only commentator that tries to dig into the real Jimmy. The program is only an hour long and if you ever have the time to watch it, I suggest you do even if you don’t like tennis to learn about a true competitor.
During his career he won eight Grand Slam singles titles and two Grand Slam doubles titles, and was a runner-up in seven Grand Slam singles finals, one Grand Slam doubles final and one Grand Slam mixed doubles final. 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. Notice the dates of his prime are late 70’s to mid 80’s. In 1991, Connor’s was 38 years old and recovering from wrist surgery. He decided to give the US Open one more shot and that tale is what the 30 on 30 documented. I won’t rehash all of the events but let’s just say it’s captivating. The video below demonstrates a point Connors had in the 4th round against Paul Haarhuis.
Notice the crowd reaction to the point. Jimmy was able to work the crowd like nobody else in tennis, ever. He made you feel like he needed you to win. He used everything he could to in his power to help him win. Whether it be stalling, arguing with the line judge, or pumping up the crowd, he knew what it took to obtain victory. His attitude in interviews is remarkable too because he basically says if you don’t like it, so what. His actions were authentic even though everything he did seemed staged. You don’t see this type of attitude out of players today like Nadal and Djokavic. Jimmy brought a one of a kind personality to tennis and it shows an incredibly powerful tool that most athletes or competitors don’t utilize today and that’s the ultimate desire to win with a fuck you attitude.