Originally Posted by Moose Malloy
I have a ton of claycourt matches from the 70s & 80s & it was extremely rare for any linesman or umpire to check a mark when a player asked. Even in the '91 French Open final the umpire refused to check the mark when Courier asked(& I think that was the only time he asked in the entire match)
Its one of those things(players getting umpires to check marks) that gradually became very common so many fans today assume that it was always that way.
I think there was a 0% chance that Barazutti would have gotten the elderly umpire in the chair that day (or anyone, it seemed to be more common for linesman to check marks at one point not umpires) to check that mark so the 'travesty' of what Connors did has been exagerated a bit over the years, esp in the context of his reputation.
And if you watch the clip on youtube Connors did it in a joking way(he runs in a silly sort of way across the net)
I'm sure Connors was also well aware that there was a 0% chance of anyone checking the mark or overturning the call(this is what would have happened had Connors not done that:
Barazutti: "look, the mark"
Umpire: loudly, in the patronizing way so many of the old farts that ruled tennis back then sounded, "the call was good, play on."
Umpire: "PLAY ON!"
Barazutti would then play on.
And someone referenced the Wilander match...notice that the umpire refused to check the mark there as well? Yeah it was great sportsmanship in the context of the game back then, but that situation could never happen today, since the umpire would have been out of his chair before Clerc even raised an eyebrow to check the mark.
There is no need to work so hard as to write little scripts attempting to sugarcoat Connor's behavior.
Checking marks was not as common as today, but you are being clumsily disingenuous to suggest it was nearly unheard of, or to suggest that what Connors did was not totally disgusting, simply because he walked in a "silly sort of way". Big deal. Are there any other big match examples of a player going over to their opponents side (which you are not even allowed to do in the middle of a game) to erase a mark the opponent is pointing at, before the umpire even makes a decision whether to check it or not? The behavior is most of all a big insult to his opponent, and he got away with it simply because he was Connors. It would be interesting to see how he would have reacted if his opponent had done that to him. Stop defending the indefensible with silly scripts about what the umpire may have said, please.
Connors was a great tennis player, among the top 5 in the open era in my opinion. He was also one of the most mean-spirited boorish jerks the sport has ever seen among its greats. The two things are not incompatible. Agassi does a good portrait of Connors at some point in his book.