Jimmy Connors... first person to win GS titles on 3 different surfaces!

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Bud, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    I came across this tidbit of information while researching some facts in another thread.

    Jimmy Connors was the first person to win a slam on 3 different surfaces and the only person to win the same slam (US Open) on 3 different surfaces!

    This is pretty cool, IMO.

    He won the US Open in:
    1974 (grass)
    1976 (HAR-TRU or "American clay")
    1978 (DecoTurf)

    In 1975, the surface of the USO changed from grass to clay (HAR-TRU). Then, in 1978, it changed from clay to the current DecoTurf.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
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  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Jimmy Connors was a fabulous player and New York was his home turf. For many years they hated him but eventually he won them over. It's doubtful whether this will ever happen again. Connors could play well on any surface.

    It was amazing how, as a underdog to Lendl in both 82 and 83 that he defeated Lendl in both finals at the U.S. Open. I think of all the surfaces at the U.S. Open, DecoTurf was his best surface.

    Nice stuff Bud.
     
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  3. FEDERER>buttpicker.

    FEDERER>buttpicker. New User

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    wOWAWEEWA!!!
     
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  4. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    I was at the '83 final and I do not remember Connors being considered the underdog -- at all. My memory is Connors being the favorite.

    Lendl took a while to develop in his career. He used to tank matches. And he would choke in others.

    I believe at the time of that match (I'd have to check the stats) he still had not broken through with a win in a GS final and people considered him a world class choker.

    Connors had beat him at the USO the year before as well.

    As it turned out, Connors completely broke Lendl down in that match. (I recall Connors was in Lendl's face after winning the fourth set. Connors being still well into his A-hole phase and there was no love lost between the two). Lendl lost the last set at love.

    For the record, that final was not sold out.
     
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  5. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    I think Lendl was the slight favorite, even the announcers were picking him on CBS. They thought Lendl's forehand was too much of a weapon, but Connors kept hitting to Lendls strength ( forehand) until he broke it down, then he had him in the palm of his hand.
     
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  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    So you were the guy sitting next to me in that match. LOL.

    That day was super hot. The temperatures at courtside had to be over 100 degrees, wouldn't be surprised if it was over 110 degrees.

    Lendl was clearly psyche out by Connors and the Pro Connors New York crowd. Connors really used the crowd to his advantage. I thought the heat may have gotten to Lendl also.

    Funny I didn't know the match wasn't sold out.
     
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  7. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    It is amazing that it wasn't sold out!!!

    Connors is my favourite ever player, but as I live in the UK getting a ticket to see him play at Wimbledon was basically impossible, unless you queued up all night (which I now wish I had done). I eventually saw play at the Royal Albert Hall on the Seniors Circuit, and sadly waited afterwards to get his autograph, he seemed very friendly as well (obviously got him on a good day).

    He was disliked by most of the Wimbledon crowd until the mid 80's, when he finally won them over:):)
     
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  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I have a good friend of mine who has just been introduced to Jimmy Connors strokes and playing style by watching videos of him on Youtube, tapes and DVDs and he loves the way Connors hits the ball. Of all the players I've seen Jimmy Connors may hit the ball more in the sweet spot of the racket than anyone I've seen and he took the ball so early. What a great pure hitter of the ball!

    Thought just occurred to me, I wonder if the reason the final match wasn't sold out was because of the incredible heat wave. I didn't even consider not going but I love tennis. A lot of the crowd may have been casual tennis fans and didn't want to suffer in the heat.
     
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  9. martin

    martin Banned

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    Wasn't connors sick in that 1983 us open final???
    I can't believe that anyone considered Lendl favourite while Connors still at relative young age(31) was leading lendl 11-3 head to head.
     
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  10. Cyan

    Cyan Hall of Fame

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    Very impressive. He also reached the USO SF at 39 which is mindblowing these days....
     
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Connors won the first eight matches against Lendl and Lendl was winning more tournaments than Jimmy in those days. They split the last six matches. In the last match they played before the U.S. Open Lendl won by 6-3 6-1 on a hard court at the Canadian Open. It wasn't unreasonable to consider Lendl the favorite. In retrospect, if Lendl was a favorite it should have been just a slight favorite. Eventually Lendl would dominate the rivalry but when Connors was in his prime or close to it. It was very close between the two. Lendl mentioned in later years that Connors slowed down just enough so he couldn't attack on the balls he used to.
     
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  12. Cosmic Charlie

    Cosmic Charlie New User

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    I remember Lendl was considered the favourite going into this final. However Connors had the clear edge over Lendl in my mind-just with his in your face attitude-which left Lendl very rattled. That 6-0 4th set in the final told a story of complete collapse. The '82 -'83 season was a transition period for Lendl, where he lost his mastery over McEnroe (he must have won 10 in a row including exhibitions), and gained some measure of Connors' game. This match confirmed the choker label, and I think at this point he went he went 0-3 in major finals, two of which he 'should' have won. What he did at RG in '84 was completely reverse this impression by rallying to defeat McEnroe with very positive play and win his first major.

    I remember this match as one which had a clear moment or point when the entire match reversed its momentum. The end of the third set. Another moment I remember was the knockout blow Lendl delivered Vitas at MSG when he was down two sets at the Master's Final ('80 or '81).

    Connors acheived a lot without the huge weapons Lendl and McEnroe had, 'stealing' 3 slams (1W and 2USOs) by sheer grittiness. Nadal reminds me of him in this respect, a modern version with more weapons.
     
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  13. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    Connors had a stomach virus that gave him the ' Kentucky Trots" - thus the trips to the bathroom & he still kicked his behind.
     
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  14. crabgrass

    crabgrass Rookie

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    going into the '82 final i was confident lendl would win, lendl was cleaning up that year bigtime, officially won 15 titles but with exhibitions probably around 20....also set a single year record for matchwins with 106.
    he had his first win over jimbo just a few weeks before the open 6-1 6-1.
    till this point i hadnt seen the signs of choking, his only previous slam final was the '81 french which he lost to borg in 5 so no disgrace there.
    by the time of the '83 final i was already having doubts he'd be able to handle his nerves on the big occasion as well as a fired up connors and onesided crowd.
     
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  15. vtmike

    vtmike Banned

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    It was a weak playing field
    ~ GameSamp

    :lol:
     
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  16. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Reaching SF at age 39 is impressive, though I believe Rosewall was 39 when he reached Wimbledon and USO finals.
     
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