ESPN 30 for 30 on Jimmy Connors

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by IA-SteveB, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Rosewall

    Rosewall Rookie

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    As a follow-up, the one thing to me that stands out about Connors is he was the anti-choker - even at the tail end of a long career when many vets lose their nerve (see Fed with the backhand). Whether he was trying to put an opponent away or take advantage of a break point, he NEVER backed off. He was a tactician and he went for it when other guys hesitated. That is what let him back into so many matches that were hopelessly lost.

    Watching Connors in long rallies stressed the crap out of me. He hit the ball so flat and hard that the ball would often clear the net by an inch or two and land just inside the baseline. It often brought gasps from the audience. How could a guy play that long, that successfully, with such little margin for error? He is at the top of my "nerves of steel" list.
     
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  2. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Yes, I think some of the commentary was very tongue in cheek...half serious, half humorous, even from Jimmy himself.
     
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  3. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I think even the hip replacement thing was dramatized; Connors was coaching Roddick several months after he had the first hip replacement, if I am not mistaken. He actually could still hit the ball surprisingly well. Not sure what length of time he can play now, but he did play an exo last fall.
    So, more drama added to the pot by the editing.
     
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  4. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Also wasn't Krickstein up 5-2 in the 5th set?..He complained that Connors intimidated the umpire. But wasn't that 2 hours before in the 2nd set??? Krickstein was a 5 set monster at 24 years old on a hot day. while Connors had to be operating on fumes. He said he wants to play Jimmy now to get even but i still would take Connors, artificial hips and all. Jimbo is one of the greatest competitors of all time!
     
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  5. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    j mac was complimentary? Basically called Connors a phony in how he'd get the crowd to his side. At one point, said he felt like punching Connors on a number of occasion. He has tremendous respect for Connors as a competitor, how hard he tried. Has respect for his tennis skills. As the type of person he was? Clearly not his favorite.

    First off, the commentators. Scott Ferrall? Howard Bryant? I can't stand Lupica. I don't see Chris Fowler as any tennis expert. How about Joel Drucker? He wrote a book on the guy. I'd have liked to have seen more of the thoughts fellow players. Borg, Nastastse, Dibbs, Gottfried, Stockton. Players who grew up with him.

    It's been so long since I really read Lupica in the Daily News. I mean with any consistency. Not sure when he became a Connors lover. I can say that late 70s, early 80s he was no big Connors fan. Peter Bodo, who Connors now hates, was definitely pro Connors in that era.

    I did get a chuckle see Connors go on and on about why do they care what I do(his opponents), I don't care what they do. You mean like when you told Mcenroe to shut up on the court, Jimmy?

    Difficult to tell where the animosity starts or how far it extends with Krickstein. At one point, Aaron does take a little shot. Compares Connors to Nadal, but points out how Connors lacks some of his traits like class and sportsmanship.

    Who knows? perhaps Aaron thought whatever "friendship" they has would preclude Connors from the gamesmenship that Krickstein thought he employed that match. Connors had always beaten him, but they hadn't played much. 3 or 4 times, IIRC.

    One thing caught my interest. Pristine television coverage of a Connors/Nastase point from, I think Montral 1979's WCT Challenge Cup. The end credits listed WCT Inc. Something like that. I wonder if they have an archive of those matches. Because those matches were all taped to be shown in syndication months later. The tapes were saved at one point. Always on the loook out for old Connors matches.

    Bottom line is people generally have different sides. Connors does have friends and I don't think they all are because they accept that he's an a-hole. He is to some people, maybe the majority of the people, but others probably see another side to him.
     
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  6. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I thought Krickstein's description of the overrule that caused Connors to go nuts in the 2nd set tiebreak was interesting.

    he said this while laughing, "I stuck my hand out, like we used to do in the juniors and the umpire actually overruled! can't believe he did that."

    sounds like Krickstein intimidated the umpire as well, it was a pretty late overrule on an incredibly big point, I think Krickstein's dramatic reaction - he also yelled 'it was out' - influenced the umpire ( you used to see that sort of thing all the time. Arantxa Sanchez was especially fond of making the out call with her hands, and sometimes getting the overrule. don't think she was popular with the other players)

    Btw I was at the Connors Krickstein match, its like nothing I've seen before or since, I think it may be the 'biggest' tennis has ever been for 2 weeks(the phenomenon that was Jimmy Connors wasn't an American thing, I wish the doc mentioned his '91 French Open - that Chang match was the loudest crowd I've ever heard there, more than most French players ever get. And he got to play on 'People's Sunday' at '91 Wimbledon as well. Again an amazing reception. His year away from tennis in '90 seemed to take him to a new level of popularity around the world. Shame he didn't play the Australian in '91 or '92)

    Yeah, there were so many amazing instances of Connors' nerves of steel in this match. That overrule gave Krickstein a set point for a 2 set to love lead! and what did Connors do to save set point (after a long argument that made the situation even more tense) but charge the net off an approach shot and hit a stretch bh volley winner! next point, another volley winner. and the next, another volley winner. Bingo, One set all. Jimmy Connors was not a serve and volleyer and Aaron Krickstein was famous for his great passing shots, but Connors had the cojones to approach the net on 3 straight points at the most important juncture of the match. he had to be so precise with those approach shots and ended up hitting 3 volley winners. unreal. and weird that someone so much more talented than Connors like Fed frequently drifts behind the baseline on big points instead of taking the initiative. even back in his prime. Djokovic actually seems to step in more on big points than Fed imo.


    also Krickstein held for 5-2 in the 5th after an incredibly long game in which Connors had many chances to get even. Even though it was one break, you would think that would be insurmountable for the 39 year old. This match was like an epic movie.

    ha, the crowd reactions were insane during rallies at Connors-Krickstein, maybe more so than you could tell on TV. fans were constantly gasping during the rallies. I was with my sister, a casual tennis fan at most, and she was squirming in her seat like she was at a horror movie, she couldn't believe Connors' shots kept going in.

    That's another unique thing about Connors, most players hate crowd noise, esp during points, even if the crowd is on your side, but he seemed to relish it. Not once did he ask the umpire to say, "please be quiet during points" in this match. heck, he probably never asked in his entire career. while someone like djokovic seems to have a hissy fit about that in every other match these days.

    Some think Mac was like Jimmy, but Mac hated crowd noise, even if the crowd was on his side. many times he would tell fans that yelled, "cmon mac!" to shut up. and tell the umpire to ask for quiet all the time. its like he hated having an audience at all. weird that so many think those 2 were similar. Jimmy let the fans in, Mac just wanted them to stay out of his way. And he wonders why the crowd loved Jimmy more, and calls Jimmy a 'phony.' whatever.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
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  7. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Lots of intelligent and interesting posts here.

    Reading with great interest everyone's comments and the thing that strikes me about Connors is that he wasn't/isn't a tennis player (certainly in the mould we've come to expect from our male tennis pros), he was a fighter, a boxer, a gladiator, at least that's the way he felt.
    He didn't have time for friends unless there wasn't any chance they would affect his tennis. Who does this sound familiar too?!
    He was brought up by Mom and Two-Mom to be a boxer, to have a boxer attitude and outlook on life.
    You listen to any of those old boxing champions, Lennox Lewis, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, George Foreman and all the others, they still talk like boxers, years after they've retired. Always confrontational, always in your face.
    Connors was in the wrong sport. Angelo Dundee - the esteemed trainer for Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, saw Connors when he was starting out as a pro and said " I could make that kid Middleweight champion of the world"!
    Connors was bred from the age of 4 to be the way he is. I think fundamentally he's a really nice guy but that struggles to come through a lot of time because of his gladiator breeding.
    Connors reminds you of Muhammad Ali! Connors and Ali were actually good friends and Connors idolised Ali, even wearing tassels on his tennis socks for a couple of years to emulate Ali.
    Jimmy Connors is a tennis player first and foremost and a person secondly.
    I was/am one of Connors biggest fans and to this day I still love watching all his old matches on DVD and actually enjoy watching him play more than ever especially with all the robots about today, but that doesn't mean I like a lot of the stuff he did/said on court.
    But then I loved/love watching Muhammad Ali fight, but some of the things he said and did were unbelievable. He made Connors look like a choirboy with his antics. Who can forget him constantly calling Joe Frazier an 'uncle Tom', this was about the worst thing a black man could call another black man and it haunted Joe Frazier all his life and caused him to harbour a lot of resentment.
    But no one ever really mentions any of Ali's antics. Is this because he's seriously ill or because his sport is boxing. I think it's probably the later.
    Well Connors fundamentally is in the wrong sport with his outlook, perspective and attitude etc, or is he, should all tennis players be like boxers??!
    It would certainly make tennis a lot more interesting and exciting, certainly compared to the dire tennis we have to watch these days (notwithstanding Federer).
     
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  8. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    I have a lot of Connors Dvd's too. Perhaps we could trade some?
    jay_henley@hotmail.com
     
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  9. Rattler

    Rattler Rookie

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    The overhead that Connors hit in the 2nd set tiebreak was out.
     
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  10. comeback

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    Great comments Jay, WTC, and WOW Moose being there and your descriptions of Connor's stretch volleys on set point and the points after truly prove that Connors had nerves and courage of steel..I remember as i watched the match i ran around the house after important points yelling YES and my 4 year old son following and imitating me (I'll post pictures of the HOF induction of Connors and me when i can find them) ..Obviously i am a Connors fan. I went to his Hall of Fame induction and spoke to his wife Patti and Mother. While he was coaching Roddick, at the US OPEN i tracked him down walking from Louis Armstrong to Arthur Ashe. While everyone gravitated towards Roddick. Connors was virtually walking alone.. I got to his side and starting blubbering to him about how he inspired me etc..he thought i was some casual fan and kept walking..So i knew i had to pull something out of the bag..I reminded him i was at his Masters match at Madison Square Garden vs Vilas that ended way after midnight and i had my car towed. Another Masters match when he beat Borg in the final and another obscure match vs Solomon at the US OPEN on har tru. Jimmy stopped and knew i was a real fan. He couldn't have been more genuine..He listened, let me finish and shook my hand and said "Thanks for staying with tennis"
     
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  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Connors and Krickstein did meet once after this match; they played a qf in Memphis in '92: http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=C044&oId=K023

    They both seem to remember their USO encounter as their last match (which I guess is understandable). Krickstein says he hasn't heard from Connors at all since that match; Connors wrote in his book that he hasn't seen Aaron at all since.

    But it's possible that they "stopped" talking to each less suddenly than they remember, all these years later.
     
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  12. Rosewall

    Rosewall Rookie

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    For what its worth, Connors says in his book Lupica was one of the few reporters he respected and Lupica walked with him while he cooled down on a practice court after the Krickstein match. Lupica was always around the US Open. But, yeah, I didn't get some of the other interviews. Mary Carillo? His old coach Pancho Segura would have been interesting. Definitely Nasty, Stockton, Stan Smith.
     
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  13. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Back in '05 Krickstein gave an interview in which he said that Connors said and did some things during the match that were "uncalled for"; and he said the two of them "lost contact" after having been good friends.

    August 28, 2005
    Krickstein's U.S. Open Scar Remains Visible
    By HARVEY ARATON

    WAS that Aaron Krickstein playing in a senior men's event last weekend in Amagansett, N.Y.? Have the years really flown by that fast?

    "Just turned 38," he reported recently by telephone. That would make him the same age Jimmy Connors was when Connors began a semifinal run at the 1991 United States Open, best remembered for a 39th-birthday, fourth-round date with Krickstein, a seminal event in modern American tennis.

    Fourteen years later, Krickstein prefers not to watch those inevitable rain-delay reruns, when he is eternally 24, hurtling toward tortuous defeat in a fifth-set tie break. He still rues a forehand off a short return he pushed long into the open court while serving for the match at 5-3, and he can't quite pardon Connors for the boorish behavior that intimidated match officials and whipped the New York Labor Day crowd into a Jimbo-crazed frenzy.

    "I was pretty good friends with Jimmy, you know, especially when I was a youngster, at 15, 16," Krickstein said. "I was at his house, we traveled together."

    The relationship ended - "We lost contact," Krickstein said - when the aging, raging bull beat the young ground-stroking matador in an epic I can still recall watching from the old press box high above Louis Armstrong Stadium, alongside Arthur Ashe.

    "During the match, he did some things and said some things that were uncalled for," Krickstein said. "It was a win-at-all-costs attitude, and I wound up losing to a 39-year-old, a guy who was as old as I am now.

    "I mean, I wish I could change the result, but I also understand what the match has come to mean. Four years in a row they showed it during the Open, and people were coming up to me in restaurants like I was still playing. They'd say, 'Oh, I was rooting for you that day,' and I'd say: 'Oh, yeah? I didn't hear you or see you.' "

    Perpetuity be damned, Krickstein has, understandably, never relished the forever role as Connors's sparring partner. At the senior event in Amagansett, the nice woman on the public-address microphone kept introducing him as the man who lost that match, so before losing the final to John McEnroe, he decided to set her straight.

    "I said to her, 'You know, I was a top-10 player,' " Krickstein said.

    He prefers to define himself as the 16-year-old from Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., who shocked Stefan Edberg and Vitas Gerulaitis at the 1983 Open, who won nine ATP events and almost $4 million in prize money, and who, before being reluctantly cast as the fall guy in the Connors vaudeville act, took apart a 21-year-old Las Vegan, name of Agassi, in the first round.

    "For me, looking back, the match against Andre was as big, if not bigger, than the one against Jimmy," Krickstein said.

    That's the beauty of hindsight, of selective memory. Rare is the Pete Sampras, who won his 14th and final Grand Slam title, defeated his generational rival, Andre Agassi, in the 2002 Open final, and then walked away from tennis, at 31. Agassi, now 35, has been taking cortisone shots as he chases a fitting farewell, but maybe the best he can hope for as he begins his 20th consecutive Open this week is a day or night like the one Connors had in 1991.

    Maybe there is a Krickstein - a young player he shouldn't necessarily beat in draining Open conditions but will - for Agassi somewhere in the second-week draw.

    Connors once told me that the Krickstein match was the most fun he'd ever had at the Open, or on any tennis stage. Krickstein just happened to be in the picture for Connors's primal scream of a last hurrah. It wasn't fun. It was just his fate.

    "I know it's a famous match, and it wouldn't have been if I had won," Krickstein said. He got on with a career cut short in 1994 by injuries, went into business and returned to the sport five years ago as the director of St. Andrew's Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla. He wishes there were more senior events to play, but the tour, started more than a decade ago by Connors, soon to turn 53, fizzled in the United States.

    There will be no re-enactment of 1991, no revenge match, but Krickstein can live with that because life has been full of turbulence and twists. Jimmy Connors is no longer his worst Open memory, by a long shot.

    A year ago, Krickstein returned to play the senior doubles event. After one match, his wife, Bianca, fell ill, and was found to have a rare ovarian cancer that develops during pregnancy. With their daughter, Jade, not yet a year old, Bianca required immediate surgery to remove cancerous tumors, followed by months of chemotherapy that she has come through, Krickstein said, with a promising prognosis.

    It wasn't his first cancer ordeal, having lost his older sister in 2003 to breast cancer. That sister, Kathy Pressel, was the mother of Morgan Pressel, the 17-year-old women's golf prodigy.

    "I'm hoping that very soon I'll be more known as Morgan's uncle than I will be as the guy who lost to Connors at the '91 Open," Krickstein said.

    That could also partly depend, of course, on the forecast for the Open these next two weeks, and for years to come.​

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/sports/tennis/28araton.html?_r=1&
     
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  14. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Lupica was always ready to give Connors credit where credit was due....despite his often churlish and anti social behaviors. I mean, really, how can you not watch that documentary and appreciate what he was able to accomplish....not merely the tennis but the degree of fan engagement? who can do that anymore?
     
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  15. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    First, I like Aaron. And, I was there for the Agassi match. Aaron played a great match but Agassi was out of it...as I recall, he had a family issue (?) and was playing like he had a train to catch. Nowhere near the quality of play exhibited by Connors. Aaron is deluding himself if he thinks he lost the match simply because of Connor's behavior. That 5th set is a tutorial in gutsy, attacking tennis. Connors "took it to him" and he couldn't effectively counter it , plain and simple. Many analyses after the match faulted Aaron for staying so far back in the court while Jimmy continued to attack, I vividly recall in one article they said Aaron was "in a coffin" at the rear of the court. Very, very true. 39yrs old or not, this was Connors playing as if the years just didn't matter. Listen to the comments of JMac re: the 1st round match...."he'd seen it many times before" he had a "bad feeling" because he knew where things were headed in that match. Connors gave away nothing...you had to earn it, down to the last GD point.
     
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  16. Anyone4tennis?

    Anyone4tennis? New User

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    Please correct me if I am wrong, but the tv program made it seem that it was the only time that Connors had played Krickstein and had an advantage over Krickstein only because a manipulative, heartless older man Connors had used a young, naive, and affable Krickstein as a hitting partner for the sole purpose of learning how to beat him and then spit him out and never talked to the young kid again after accomplishing his goal.

    As much as I like Krickstein, the truth of the matter is that the match at the US Open was the sixth meeting between the two, with their most recent meeting having taken place only two months earlier at Wimbledon, and at each of these meetings, Krickstein never won. That's right. Connors was going into this match with a 5-0 head to head against his Krickstein.

    Also, Connors was a world class champion. You could put him into the ring with someone he has never played before, and he would be able to sniff out his opponent's weaknesses in no time. And, at that moment of his career, although he was already 39 and needed a wildcard to get into the draw, his game was back in top championship form, and when his game was on, all the smart money would be on Connors to win, as we saw throughout this entire major tournament where he reached the semi finals.
     
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  17. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Bjorn Borg on Jimmy Connors here at 19:00:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoB9KnKn-vA#t=1140

     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
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  18. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I think some of this program was edited for effect, obviously, painting Connors as the "villain". As some have noted, not sure all of the comments being made are serious or joking, Connors included. The thing about '91, as it's shown in this program, is that it's made out to be Connors as this washed up old geezer who couldn't play top tennis anymore. This is quite the exaggeration. He was but one year removed from the top of the game....you can look it up, but I'm quite sure he was in the Top 20 going into early 1990 when his wrist blew out. Then, much of the year was missed...surgery, rehab, etc. He came back slowly in 1991, but you could see his game was coming around again as he hit the GS circuit. His play at RG was shockingly good, even tho' he did not emerge as a winner against Chang. Then, right before the Open, he pushed Edberg to 3 sets at the hard court warm up in Long Island, so it wasn't like he didn't have some game left to play. Certainly, the way the matches went at the Open, it was top notch drama and incredible excitement, no question. But, this was not Connors as some sort of sad, washed up, over the hill clown, by any stretch. I always felt that if he had gotten by Courier (or faced someone lesser, perhaps) he would've given Edberg one hell of a hard time.
     
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  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Connors beat Edberg in 1989, right?
     
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  20. SCRAP IRON

    SCRAP IRON Professional

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    I believe that it's not as though Jimmy disliked Aaron after the match, they just didn't reach out to each other in the future. They went their separate ways. Connors was not the type to call someone after a match or go have a beer with his opponent. That's what made Connors one of the most mentally tough players of all time. Though he did not hate you, you WERE his enemy if you stood in the way of winning. It was just his upbringing. He was a player that had no soft side whatsoever. His relentless style of play and charisma has been missed even after all these years. Great show on ESPN!
     
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  21. WCT

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    I buy the comparison of the Mcfenroe Connors personailities. However, in that 91 match I think Connors came in 130 to 135 times. Him coming in on big points was how he played the entire match. For hom not to do so would be the departure.

    As I've said here numerous times, Connors, after he and Segura parted ways, definitely was coming in less at times. It used to irk me no end back then because I knew how he used to play. That said, even then, he would always come in on the big points.

    A better example, i think, of what you are saying would the 1980 US semi vs Mac. Connors was at the net, by my stats, 49 or 50 times, I think. I bet close to 20 were from the last set. He was at the net more times than Mac in the tiebreaker. Connors was at the net 6 of the 10 points. Served and volleyed on 4 of them.

    I also do think that Connors talent tends to be underrated. He's not Federer, but who is? Federer is sublimely talented. Connors won or more than guts and determination. His basic strokes also had a lot to do with it.
     
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  22. WCT

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    The guy missed close to a year with a major operation. He's coming back at 38 years old. hasn't made a slam semi since 87 and he was beaten in straight sets in both of those. He basically won a couple matches at the French and got knocked out early at Wimbledon.
    Seriously, who thinks he is making the semis of the US Open?

    Now, I'm not equating his chances to that of a qualifier. He's got a maybe top 50ish player's chance of making it, but it's damn sure a longshot. And getting the right draw didn't hurt. He didn't any really top players until Courier.

    I see no deliberate villification of Connors in that show. The good things he did for tennis are talked about as well. He's not demonized in that show. Connors' twitter doesn't indicate. He's got multiple retweets from people who said they loved the show.

    Every one of those 30 for 30s is edited. They don't show the entire interview. One of the parts I would have liked to have heard was from Krickstein. They mention how Gullickson left him shortly afterward. There is a brief mention, by Krickstein, about not following his coach's advice. Would have been interested to hear what that was. I'm guessing that he come to net more.

    To be clear on Lupica. I know what Connors said about him in his book. BTW, the same book that attacked Bodo(without mentioning his name) for something he didn't do.
    I know Lupica was pro Connors back in 91. Walked the court with him after the Krickstein match.

    What I'm saying is the worm turned. Late 70s/early 80s Mike Lupica was sure as hell not pro Jimmy Connors. I know, I read the articles and columns. And there were plenty of the latter come the Masters, Wimbledon and the US Open. Somewere along the line, I'm not sure when, he turned. Again, I was reading a lot less of him mid 80s on. So, I'm not sure when it happened.

    Okay, lots of people have changed their minds on lots of players. Enemies become friends and all that. I don't begrudge Lupica that right. I just don't personally think the guy knows 10% of the tennis that he thinks he knows. Well, I could say that about him and other sports as well. It goes back to the commentators and how I think they could have done better. I'll take Steve Flink over Lupica any day of the week.
     
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  23. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    The Greatest compliment to Connors i think McEnroe or Carillo might have said it "He has what we all want" They were talking about the connection, love and respect of all those that attended those unforgettable matches. I'm happy that Jimmy has those memories with all that he gave the sport. Yes many players from all sports get those emotional moments at a Hall of Fame Induction etc..But I'm sure Connors get it often everywhere he goes when people come up to him and talk about those magical moments few athletes experience.
    How great do you feel when someones remembers anything good that you did 23 years ago?
     
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  24. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Awesome documentary. Huge respect to Krickstein for doing the interview. And PMac.

    They did make a little too much of the fact that Krickstein and Connors didn't get back together. Connors was near the end - then moved to CA. There's no obligation for Connors to reach out - if he'd blown Krickstein off, that would be one thing. It's 50/50.

    Lupica's bandwagon hopping is being debated? LOL!
     
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  25. WCT

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    BTW, Comeback, you were at the Connors/Solomon US Open match? That was 1975, wasn't it? First year I really started following tennis. I mean watching it regularly. Watched it before then, but not regularly.
     
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  26. comeback

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    Yes 1975 on har tru in the main stadium . I'm pretty sure under the lights. Solomon was having good years then and was a backboard on clay..But Connors took him out 6-4 6-2 5-7 6-3
     
    #76
  27. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I don't know if the negative things that Connors did won him that match, but I do think he would have lost without the massive crowd support.

    His margin of victory was razor thin, so any number of things can be argued as necessary for him to pull through. Without his own mental strength and aggression, of course, he loses. Without the crowd support, I think, he loses (if there were an entry in the dictionary for "crowd support" in a tennis match, this match would be the leading example).

    The documentary doesn't mention it but Krickstein opened a blister while closing out a marathon service game to go up 5-2 in the fifth. No one can say how much of a factor that was. I wouldn't say it was a large factor; I tend to think Connors would still have won, blister or otherwise; but I mention it because I disagree that the match can be put down solelyto aggressive tennis from Connors and Krickstein's failure to counter it. If for no other reason than the narrowness of the victory, a lot of factors come into it.

    Interesting comment, though, about Krickstein standing so far back. That is probably one major reason that he never beat Connors (despite beating, at one time or another, all the other top players of those years).

    Connors even double-bageled Aaron on clay at Forest Hills, back in '84 when Aaron was already a top player. (Ironically in the very next round Connors got double-bageled by Lendl.) It was only the second double-bagel that Connors achieved in his entire career.
     
    #77
  28. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I thought Aaron was just saying tongue in cheek that his coach "asked" him to beat Connors and he didn't come through, "didn't do what he asked."

    But maybe the breakup with his coach makes more sense if Krickstein did not follow some actual advice or direction. Seems harsh to leave a player merely for losing, if he really did all he could.

    I really enjoyed hearing from all the non-tennis people. Sure, they're not hardcore tennis fans and their insights are not like those we could have had from Segura, for example. But for me it's still amazing how much that Connors run got non-tennis fans excited.

    Tennis often feels insular to me, and it's just great whenever you know that something in your sport has caught the attention (and the respect) of the people who normally spend most of their time talking about baseball, football and basketball.
     
    #78
  29. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Reading everyone's outstanding comments with interest and relish really emphasises that Jimmy Connors really was/is "The most important tennis player ever"! Not the best, not the most talented, not the best athlete, but without a doubt The most important!
    Never has a played stirred so much emotional inside people, good and bad. He started off as the anti-hero and transformed into the biggest and most popular sports/rock star ever.
    Yes he was a punk, yes he was vulgar and yes he crossed the line.
    But he was also kind (ball kids would always say he was the most polite and respectful out of all the players towards them), He would always talk and say hello to all the lower ranked players on the tour, he was always very gracious towards all the officials OFF the court, but on the court he was a fighter, but most importantly he was/is human.
    There are parts of Jimmy that we can all identify with. There is not one tennis fan ever that hasn't been able to identify with Connors in someway.
    He was raw, he was rough around the edges, but he was everyone's favourite arsehole!
     
    #79
  30. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    Only watched it once, but not my take with the coach. Hard to tell when the interview is so edited. I definitely took it as, he did not follow the coach's strategic advice. I'm not claiming the show is stating that the breakup was a direct result of that. IIRc, it wasn't immediate. It was in the next year or so, wasn't it? Coaches and players part ways for a myriad of reasons.

    I certainly do not dispute that Connors 91 run streached beyond normal tennis coverage. all the US network were talking about it. And since this show was mainly about that run, I can't objectively be that critical of inclusion of non tennis personalities. However, personally speaking, I would much rather heard from tennis commentators/writers/players. Just my own preference.
     
    #80
  31. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    This was a good piece but had one major omission and one over-dramatized angle.

    The show should have mentioned that in almost every other match Aaron was the fan favorite. The guy burst on the scene as a teenager, set a record that will never be broken (youngest to win an ATP event at age 16 yrs. 2 mos in Tel Aviv, 1984), was a class act and had fans in every corner of the globe. He had one of the biggest forehands of the early-mid 80s and a will to win (great 5 set record) that got people in his corner. Highlighting all of this would have helped tell the story too.

    The negative impact on Aaron's life was over-dramatized. Aaron made it to four finals (including the prestigious Monte Carlo) after that US Open, won two titles and even made it to the semis of the Aussie Open in a fantastic '95 run. He has had success on the Champions Tour (wins over Mac, Courier and a much younger Philippoussis).

    He is actively involved in various tennis exhibitions with his buddies in South Florida - Aaron is friends with many of the American players of the era. He has a beautiful family - below is a sweet picture of his daughter with Todd Martin's boy taken at a seniors match. And that place where he is Director of Tennis is actually kind of a big deal - St. Andrew's Country Club is a very high end resort in Boca Raton. I'm sure the members there are delighted to have him as their coach.

    Oh well, ESPN certainly emphasized correctly how much everyone hates Connors. What a tool he is.

    [​IMG]
     
    #81
  32. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Oh well, ESPN certainly emphasized correctly how much everyone hates Connors. What a tool he is.

    I still don't think EVERYONE hates Connors.
     
    #82
  33. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    every player should be "hated" like Connors....
     
    #83
  34. SCRAP IRON

    SCRAP IRON Professional

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    Connors had more "heart" than anyone on the tour, and there was some fierce competition.
     
    #84
  35. Stuart S

    Stuart S New User

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    The thing is, WHY would Connors more or less say, as the programme makes out, "I've just beaten you, and now I don't want to know you." ? It just doesn't make sense. There's got to be more than they're telling here.
     
    #85
  36. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    thats true but the funny thing is that krickstein is remembered by alot of people (probably mostly nontennis fans) as the player that lost to connors at the us open. when strangers walk up to him, he probably gets alot of " hey i remember you, you were the one that had that match with connors at the us open!"
     
    #86
  37. Rosewall

    Rosewall Rookie

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    Connors didn't do that. From reading Connors book, I came away with the impression that Connors believes that Krickstein avoided him after that match. I thought Connors behavior in that match was bush league, and he should have reached out to Krickstein after that match. I think that is what some in the ESPN 30 for 30, like Mary Carillo, were surprised at.

    Krickstein was waiting for an apology which is stupid. He knew Connors. He knew Connors had only two goals every time he stepped on a court: 1. Win 2. Entertain the crowd with his best effort and showmanship.

    Connors expected Krickstein to just say, "Hey, you got me at the USO and everything is cool." So you got one guy that doesn't get that champions won't be your pal when you step across the line and you got another guy who won't give an inch ever and comes across as totally lacking empathy because of that behavior. Yes, ESPN overplayed it, but the drama was real back then and lives on nearly 25 years later.
     
    #87
  38. Stuart S

    Stuart S New User

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    Thanks for that, Rosewall.

    In that case, the TV programme is very misleading, as it portrays Connors as the shunner.
     
    #88
  39. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Bump.

    I finally watched this documentary, and I found the pity party for Aaron Krickstein towards the end to be even more ridiculous than Connor's antics throughout the 1991 US Open. They were making it sound like the guy started free-falling in the rankings after that match with Connors and had to live on welfare checks. I took a look at his ATP profile and the guy was ranked higher at the end of 1992 than he was at the end of 1991. Furthermore, he made decent amount in prize money for 3-4 years after that match before falling of the radar. But then again, it was heavily sensationalized. 66 trips to the towel in match that 5 hours long does not seem out of the ordinary, Chris Fowler should know that Nadal and Djokovic probably take that many trips in straight set victories.:lol:
     
    #89
  40. bjsnider

    bjsnider Professional

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    That's obvious, but it s disturbing that all of the pundits were laughing about it. His sociopathy is not a laughing matter.
     
    #90
  41. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Especially Mike Lupica. Is he buddies with Connors or something? I just thought he had a little too much manlove for Connors.
     
    #91
  42. JCat

    JCat Rookie

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    First off, I will out myself as a huge Jimmy Connors fan. I have been since 1976, when I was in 5th or 6th grade, so I am not unbiased. I was loving the ESPN 30/30 doc on him until about the last ten minutes when it turned into "the poor Aaron show". I thought the big reveal about how Krickstein and Connors haven't spoken since this match to be a bit over-dramatized. In fact, the incredulous faces on Carillo and Fowler were a bit too much. I think I understand why the two haven't spoken. It was a very hard-fought match in which Connors did cross the line with his behavior and gamesmanship. I think even Jimmy knows and admits this. He probably felt as though Krickstein expected some sort of apology for this. Connors admitted in his book that he has always tended to avoid confrontations off the court. This was an awkward situation that he probably wanted to avoid. That may not excuse it, but it is easy to understand. It is not clear if the two were good friends at the time of this match either. Krickstein said that he went to Connors's house a few times to practice with him when he was about sixteen years old, but this match was eight years after that. I listened to a radio interview that Krickstein gave several days after the ESPN show aired in which he was asked about not speaking to Connors after the match. He said that they played each other in a tournament one time several months later and that they did not speak to each other. After that, they just never crossed paths again. He said that he and Connors were about to bump into each other once, but that someone began talking to him before that could happen, and when he looked up again Connors was gone. I don't really get why it becomes the fault of Connors only, and not Krickstein, that they have not talked. If the friendship was important to him, then I would think Krickstein could have tried to be the one to break the ice. He probably didn't want to because of his lingering bad feelings from the match. So, did the friendship mean that much to him?
    I also doubt this whole idea that people have of Connors being this friendless lonely bitter man. From what I know of him, he has many friends in the community that he lives; loyal friends of many years. He also has a long-lasting 35 year marriage to the same woman, and seemingly close relationships with his two children. In his book he noted several friendships that he has maintained with some players from his era, perhaps not the McEnroe brothers, but some former players nonetheless. I am hopeful that the man is living a good life in retirement, because he deserves it for all the good things that he did for the game of tennis. He may not be the best player ever, but he is certainly one of the most exciting tennis has ever known.
     
    #92
  43. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    JCat.

    I wondered if a very strong Connors fan might have a problem with the last portion of this amazing program because... I felt it could come across too badly and that Connors fans might feel that to a more neutral observer that it somehow taints Connors.

    It didn't, not for me anyway. I do like Connors a lot but I didn't live through his era and I just like him in retrospect.

    The segment was a little bit melodramatic but I'm just letting you know though that, from a more neutral standpoint, it wasn't sour and I was left in absolute awe and amazement of Connors after the show had finished. I watched it twice.

    I loved it. Absolutely.. Amazing.


    Basically, the show put Connors in an amazing 'larger than life' light.

    What a player and what a character!!

    Please take a look at this video I made of Connors a while back (I've uploaded it to a couple of different accounts now):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbI01rYlZOw

    I also included him in a recent video about great sports moments:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RCCyKgdrPg


    I'm going to watch that 30 for 30 Connors show again, just because it was too damned good. It makes me wish I could have been there like you wouldn't believe maybe.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
    #93
  44. JCat

    JCat Rookie

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    Nathaniel Near, Thanks. I loved that video you made. I don't know how other diehard Connors fans felt watching that last part of the ESPN doc, but yes, I felt a little let down by the ending and felt it did taint an otherwise wonderful tribute to him. Believe me, I do know that the man is not without faults. You can't be a Connors fan and watch all his matches and read all the articles written about him without realizing that some of his behavior can't be defended. It might surprise you to know that I am a woman fan too. In my opinion, there has never been a more exciting, charismatic player to watch and to pull for. I felt like he took me on an exciting ride that lasted for about twenty plus years. There were ups and downs, but the downs only made the ups that much more thrilling. I followed him on the senior tour too. I've always seen the goodness in him, even as I recognized his sometimes dark side. I don't know if tennis will ever see anyone like him again. I'm sure that many will say that it a good thing, but the sport of tennis misses him, especially in the United States.
     
    #94
  45. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    Connors was actually friends with Patrick McEnroe at one point. There's a photo of Patrick, Jimmy.. and Vitas I believe, in Connors book.

    Jimmy seemed a bit hurt that Patrick made a nasty comment about Connors in the documentary. Connors said he expected something like that from John, not Patrick.
     
    #95
  46. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    #96
  47. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    just watched it.
    was nicely edited.
     
    #97
  48. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Guys, I just stumbled on a cool fact.

    In 1974, 21 year old Connors destroyed a 39 year old Ken Rosewall in his second to last US Open .

    In 1991, 21 year old Courier destroyed a 39 year old Jimmy Connors in his second to last US Open.

    Idk, I found it to be interesting.
     
    #98
  49. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    yes they also mentioned it in the docu.
    but your exact age details are truly fascinating.
     
    #99
  50. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Sid Vicious, Yes, a conspicious parallelism.

    But there are a few significant differences between old Muscles and old Jimbo: Whereas Rosewall reached the final in 1974, Connors lost in the SFs in 1991.

    And whereas old Connors did not meet a top player in his sensational run to the SF, Rosewall met and beat Newcombe and Smith.

    When Rosewall was demolished by young Connors so badly, many fans and experts wondered if a peak Rosewall could have coped with peak Connors. But 17 years later, when Jimbo suffered a similary fate, some might have realized that any 39 years old is miles away from his peak or even prime.

    Therefore the extraordinary runs plus the following heavy losses of the two oldies should altogether be considered as great feats of Ken and Jimmy.
     

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