What happened when Connors rubbed out that ball mark against Barrazutti ?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by MAXXply, May 16, 2012.

  1. MAXXply

    MAXXply Hall of Fame

    May 29, 2008
    Can tennis fans with long memories recall:

    What happened in the immediate aftermath of the point where Jimbo walked over to Corrado Barrazutti's side of the court and rubbed out the ball mark?? (at least I think it was Barrazutti)
    Which tournament was it?
    Was the point replayed or given to Jimbo or Barazutti?
    How did Barrazutti and the crowd react?
    What was the post-match reaction from local press and authorities?
  2. Michael B

    Michael B New User

    Jan 25, 2010
    The umpire publicly criticized him but didn't award a warning or point to Barrazzutti, at least as I recall. Connors won the match.
  3. Pebbles10

    Pebbles10 New User

    Feb 15, 2012
    Something Wilander would never had done!
  4. Arafel

    Arafel Professional

    Aug 3, 2004
    It was in the semifinals at the 1977 U.S. Open. The umpire was laughing as he warned Connors, and the crowd seemed to be chuckling. Jimbo still won the point. Barazzutti was angry but couldn't really do anything.
  5. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    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."
    Barazutti: "But.."
    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.
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  6. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

    Dec 2, 2009
    Interesting info...thanks. It does give it a different context.
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Feb 17, 2010
    USO semis in 77.The crowd reaction: next day, in the finals, Vilas was playing in Buenos Aires, not in New York...
  8. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

    May 6, 2012
    Ahahah, nice joke Kiki, I appreciated this. :D

    (I also appreciated Vilas winning the match against the arrogant yankee).
  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Feb 17, 2010
    It was like if New York had become crazy for Vilas, but this was due to Connors behaviour.Jimmy´s love story with NY crowd had to wait till Mc Enroe showed up and Flushing replaced Forest Hills ( which, of course, was a much much classier venue than the Meadows.Then Connors was the nice brash and John the bad brash...crowds are so manipulable...
  10. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

    Apr 25, 2007
    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.
  11. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

    Apr 25, 2007
    Checking marks on clay is as old as claycourt tennis, and that's very old. The fact that umpires sometimes refused to check them in the past if they felt the call was correct doesn’t do anything to improve the ugliness of what Connors did. The umpire had not even made any decision whether to check the mark or not. The fundmental truth about the a-s-s--h-o-le-ness of Jimmy Connors is easily ascertained by thousands of web pages where people call him all kinds of variations of ugly names. A well known quote by Arthur Ashe may be one of the most complimentary. When asked if he believed Connors was an as****, Ashe thought for a moment and then replied: “Yeah, but he was my favorite as****.

    That’s an acceptable form of perfume. Moose's perfume is not.
  12. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Dec 27, 2005
    hmm, that's interesting. I have probably 50 clay matches on dvd tape from the 70s/80s(granted most are from the French), I've seen maybe a handful of times where an official checked a mark (they didn't even do it for Noah in the '83 French Final!)

    I have these matches at Forest Hills on tape, not one checked mark I believe in any these matches (And I'm sure you remember the very odd match point in the Vilas-Connors final. Connors hits a fh that is apparently called good, Vilas looks at linesman & I guess he reverses his call, then Vilas has a delayed celebration. No checked mark, umpire says nothing, match over. have trouble imagining that happen today)

    '75 USO F Connors-Orantes
    '75 USO F Evert-Goolagong
    '76 USO F Borg-Connors
    '77 USO F Vilas-Connors
    '77 USO Higueras-Rosewall
    maybe have more, will have to check my list.

    And I mentioned that famous Clerc-Wilander match point(see below)
    did you see it? why did the umpire refuse to check the mark on such an important point(and it was right in front of him)
    he even got out of his chair to leave the court because the match was over, but refused to walk a few steps to look at that mark. Everyone still goes on about Wilander's great sportsmanship that day, but in a way I think he was forced to do that because of the arrogant umpire(crowd was going nuts, it was an awkward situation)

    Again, there is no way that situation could happen today.

    Obviously I don't expect tennis fans to have a photographic memory of how the game was in the past (nor do I, but I think it would be obvious to you by now that I watch A LOT of old matches - not just what's on youtube. I watch far more old matches than current matches in fact. Do you really think I'm just speaking out of my ass & trying to sugarcoat Connors or something? I don't think it was cool what he did, but I am sure nothing would have changed had he not. as is often the case, I think the way we view tennis today makes it hard to have perspective on the past. your post is sort of weird, when so often I'm the one who frequently answers your questions about the past. And I did cite specific examples. And could probably do many more, can you find me one example of a mark being checked in a 70s claycourt match? or better yet a mark being checked & then overrturned? it seems like officials back then thought they were always right)


    really, this is clip is beyond absurd. guy gets down out of chair to talk to Clerc, but won't check the mark. yeah I'm being disingenuous to suggest the way claycourt matches were officiated in the past was not really similar to the way they are today.

    I think it would be a bit disingenuous to not acknowledge how different the game is today from the not too distant past. And I'm not talking about styles of play, etc, but officiating & other stuff we have gotten so used to.

    Again, I watch a lot of old matches & it was shocking to me how umpires were so adamant about not checking marks not too long ago, even when players maybe questioned only once or twice a match. It clearly was some sort of party line that umpires were adhering to. And a lot of these matches I did watch live way back when & probably didn't think it was such a big deal at the time. But watching them all these years later, after watching umpires today get out of the chair 10-20 times a match(often before a player even looks at them), it does seem rather jarring & pretty unfair for players of the past.

    And I could go on & on about so many details from the past that seem so strange today. I'm sure you've noticed players toweling off all the time in between points today? Rosewall did it once in a match at the USO I have (in a far quicker fashion than players today) & the commentators said, "he'd better not do that again, or he could get a warning"

    Or umpires in the 80s warning players that stopped to grab a drink or towel off while switching sides in a tiebreak(surely you remember there was time where players weren't allowed to do this? play is supposed to be continuous in a tiebreak, funny how getting water & toweling off during a tiebreak today is now the norm)

    Or Roche in the '70 USO Final(I mentioned this is one of your multiple "why did they play with a ball in their hands" threads)
    Commentators talked of how unusual it was to to keep a ball in your pocket while serving. But they said it was ok because "he gets the 2nd ball out of his pocket very quickly."

    Or the instances I've seen where balls fell out of pockets during points but lets were not called(there is a famous one with Goolagong-King at the USO)
    Or Chris Evert just tapping the 2nd ball behind her after making a 1st serve because she had no pockets(recreational players wouldn't be allowed to do that in league tournaments today)

    Or trash blowing on courts in matches and no lets being called. Or hats falling off players & lets not being called.

    Or elderly umpires frequently getting the score wrong in matches.

    Or players spraining their ankles & getting warned by the umpire for not playing immediately(no folks, there wasn't always something called an injury timeout. or sympathetic umpires who used good judgement)

    Or umpires saying, 'lets just play a let' after players give them a look after a questionable call. Even if said call was a clean winner, 'let's just play a let.' the game was pro, but the officiating was clearly amateur for a long time. you do know that most tournaments just used local umpires & linesman in the 70s? for many years ATP only had a few touring umpires & that only became common in 80s. But Wimbledon still only had their own umpires for many years(as late as 1989, I think no ATP umpire still had ever worked Wimbledon) And fans think players argued a lot back then due to gamesmanship. Right. Somehow I doubt the frazzled 70 year old British guy in the chair during the '78 Wimbledon final had to pass a test that atp umpires today have to. There was a reason the game took so long to go Open, & a lot of it was due to a lot of stubborn old men of the country club ilk. Same stubborn old men ran the slams once game went open & many were still in the chair at the slams for years after. was probably hard to get out of the chair to check marks in their advanced age.

    sad thing is, I've seen this script happen so many times in old matches. And not just with the 'bad boys.' can still hear those umpires saying, "call was good, play on!" in patronizing tones the second a player gave them a quizical look. it was soo common in 70s/80s.

    A recent one I saw was Sukova-Navratilova '84 AO. what a ***** in the chair. couldn't say a peep to her without being snapped at. and of course, she got the score wrong a few times. good times.

    I'm sure the specific examples will come to me later, but I have seen players do this in old matches(cross the net to point at a mark & argue)

    Weird that Mac said Hingis could get defaulted when she crossed the net at '99 French, I wonder if it is an actual rule or just an unwritten rule. And maybe that rule didn't exist in the 70s(since so many rules I posted upthread apparently didn't exist either)

    Agassi's portrait of himself is even more absurd. Yeah, Andre you caught Jaite's serve in that Davis Cup match because you couldn't get out of the way of the ball!
    I can't think of a many more disgusting acts in tennis than someone destroying another player, then 'catching' his serve in order to give him a point out of pity, can you? Don't recall Jimmy ever doing that.

    I think that was the most absurd explanation for bad oncourt behavior I've ever seen. Esp since it was written so many years later. is old Andre so full of himself that he can't acknowledge he was a fool when he was 19? I remember when it happened, everyone in tennis, even his DC teammates, blasted him for that stunt.

    But today the word of Saint Andre is gospel, must accept everything in his book as the truth.

    At least Jimmy hasn't written a sob story(yet) where every asshat thing he ever did was really just about us 'misunderstanding' him.
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  13. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Connors apparently rubbed out a mark at the '84 French, against McEnroe: http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...MDAAAAIBAJ&dq=connors mcenroe&pg=6404,3150979

    The video doesn't show him doing that, but you can see the two players confronting each other at the net: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=48veNNQFnno#t=428s

    In his loss to Wilander the previous year, Mac had tried unsuccessfully to get the umpire to check a mark. Again in '88 he couldn't get the umpire to check a mark, when he lost to Lendl.

    Maybe you remember, Lendl crossed over to Wilander's side of the net to point out a mark, at the '82 French. The umpire just told him he had 15 seconds to serve.
  14. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

    Jan 24, 2012
    Moose, McEnroe was partially correct. Crossing the net to look at a ball mark is a code violation, but not a default.

    As to those arguing wit moose about the old time umpires checking ball mars, moose is correct.

    Back then, if the player wanted a mark checked, he had to ask the line umpire. A lot of the old school linesmen didn't want to be shown as wrong, so they would only look at a mark if they knew they would be right.

    If the player argued with the linesman, and the linesman was unsure, the only way a chair umpire could go look is if the linesman yielded to the chair.

    Then it evolved to where the chair could go after the linesman if they were fairly certain the linesman went to the wrong mark.

    Then thankfully it evolved to the way it is today.
  15. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

    Apr 25, 2007

    Meaning that balls were sometimes checked. Barazzutti says that, if memory serves him well, it would have meant a point to go up 5-3 in the third set. Says he saw the ball clearly out. Turned around to talk to the linesman to come see the mark, and right away, while he had his back toward the net, Connors ran over to his side and erased the mark. http://www.repubblica.it/2009/05/rubriche/la-storia/barazzutti-connors/barazzutti-connors.html

    Connors later claimed he didn’t remember doing any such thing, according to an article in SI in 1978.

    “[…] the bluster and forced antics culminating in the mortifying episode at Forest Hills last year when Connors ran around the net onto the other side of the court and erased a ball mark that his opponent, Corrado Barazzutti, was citing as evidence of a bad call. (Connors says now that he blacked out on his feet and doesn't recall the incident.)”

    It’s astonishing to me that such behavior went unpunished and is considered "funny". And it seems even more amazing (not less) in the context of the fact that umpires back then were supposed to be stricter and quicker than today to give warnings even for small things like toweling off. But when it came to the Connors antics (and later McEnroe’s) they just let them get away with incredible tantrums and abuse. Isn’t that odd? I mean, isn’t that really odd? Strictness for the small sins, but systematic leniency for the outrageous ones. Toweling off is awful, but “you’re an abortion” or running to erase marks on the other side of the net is okay. It took more than a decade of tantrums for Mac to be defaulted in Australia. And it took until 1986 for Connors to be defaulted for “aggravated behavior” in Boca Raton. Ah, but toweling off was a serious crime. How does that explain or excuse the fact that Connors was allowed to do such things? It doesn’t. To me, the Barazzutti episode is by far the most disgusting thing I've ever seen done by a big player on a tennis court, worse than the abortion episode, worse than Mac's smashing glasses, worse than any tantrum by anyone. No wonder Connors says he forgot all about it.
  16. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

    Aug 24, 2007
    Probably because Connors and McEnroe generated INCREDIBLE revenue. Because unless they played their event had no legitimacy as a grand slam really. And of course if he really angered Connors maybe Connors would be able to use his clout to ruin the Umpire's career. And the Umpire was an American so was probably biased.

    Federer swore during a match 5-6 years ago and the umpire and the crowd just laughed. That and the connors incident used to be on youtube, strange they've been taken off isn't it? And then there's Serena Williams threatening to Murder a lineswoman and beat up an Umpire, far worse than ANYTHING McEnroe or Connors ever did (and that's saying something!).
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  17. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
  18. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

    Aug 24, 2007
    That is by far the best picture quality video you've ever uploaded. You should reupload the Laver/Borg Hilton match using that technique.
  19. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Banned

    Nov 26, 2011
    Bradenton, FL
    Barrazutti talks about the infamous mark rub out by Jimbo in this QA...


    Corrado Barazzutti Biofile.3 Comments · Posted by Scoop Malinowski in Articles, Scoop · Edit
    By Scoop Malinowski

    Status: Member of Italy’s 1976 Davis Cup winning team. Semifinalist at 1977 U.S. Open and 1978 Roland Garros. Winner of five ATP singles titles. Captain of Italy’s Fed Cup Team which has won three Fed Cups (2006, 2009, 2010). Captain of Italy’s Davis Cup team.

    DOB: February 19, 1953 In: Udine, Italy

    First Tennis Memory: “Well, a very nice age that I started tennis. It’s been very, very fun with many great emotion, satisfaction and many tough matches.”

    Inspirations: “Well, maybe Ilie Nastase. That was the player of my era.”

    Greatest Sports Moment: “Maybe in 1976 – I win the Davis Cup. Then I play semifinal of U.S. Open (1977) and semifinal of Roland Garros (1978). I’ve been #7 in the world (1978).”

    Most Painful Moment: “When I stopped to play [smiles]. It was really a bad moment because it was against my will. I’m not the type to stop but I have tennis elbow problems and I make the first surgery and then the second, then I had to stop against my will. I stop in 1984.”

    Favorite Tournaments: “Maybe Roland Garros is my favorite. It’s a clay court – my surface that I preferred to play on.”

    Toughest Competitor Encountered: “Bjorn Borg, for sure. It was very tough to beat him. Impossible for me [laughs]. We played a lot of times but I never win.”

    Strangest Match: “Was with Jimmy Connors in the semifinal. I don’t know if you remember, in the third set in Forest Hills. In the third set he come on my court and cancel with the foot the sign. I was speaking with the linesman to ask and see to come and check the sign because the ball was out. They call it in. Jimmy Connors come around and pass on my side of the court and cancel the sign with his foot, and go again on his court. That was strange, to cancel the sign but same now might be disqualification.”

    Favorite Players To Watch: “Easy to say, Federer. I think Federer is the most beautiful tennis player to see in this era, this moment. I like also Nalbandian is very good tennis I like.”

    Funny Tennis Memory: “I remember it was funny but sad also. We practiced in Nottingham, me and Tonino Zugarelli. Before Wimbledon. A bird fly toward the court and we hit the ball together, we cross the ball and we both hit the bird. We can’t believe it. We feel very bad because we went to do, because the bird disturbed the play for the game. So we killed the bird.”

    Favorite Sport Outside Tennis: “I like the golf. And like all Italians, I like soccer.”

    Last Book Read: “Game of Thones.”

    Current Car: “I have a Volswagen (gray).”

    Best You Ever Felt On Court: “One of the best matches I played was maybe against Lendl in Davis Cup. I was down 5-2 in the fifth and I won 7-5 in the fifth.”

    First Famous Player You Ever Met: “Ken Rosewall when I was eight. He come when there was the Jack Kramer team. There was 25 of the best players in the world. They made a tour to make an exhibition in my city, Alessandria, where I start to play tennis. And I was one of the ballkids for Ken Rosewall in that exhibition. I played some balls with him. And I meet him for the first time. A really great player. Then I play with him too in the tournament too because he played till 41 years old.”

    Why Do You Love Playing Tennis: “The passion I think. There is not reason. Tennis is a passion that you feel inside, something that you like very, very much. The most important thing for you. And you like very much profession. I start to play in the small yard in my house. We start to play, when it’s possible, every day. And it became my profession.”

    People Qualities Most Admired: “I like people who are like a glass. You can see inside and not people who lie. Do you know what I mean? Honest. I like the people honest. That is the best thing I like, I think, from other people. Honest…in the bad thing and the good thing [smiles].”
  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Feb 17, 2010
    Nice post.I liked Corrado, called the Little Solider.Not a fun player to watch, but always to admire his determination and never say die atittude.He got very far with very little and that is a great compliment to do.
  21. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Aug 12, 2007
    Then Laver does it later at 3:55. Nastase applauds.
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  22. raging

    raging Professional

    Nov 3, 2009
    this is a great bit of video, also because the tension that Nasty created between all 3 players, even Borg "got hot"!!!
    Nastase was somebody who polarised players, spectators & officials alike.
    He bent the rules, like Jimmy did, & then tried to lie about it.
    That said, he was an amazing talent & it was great watching him & Jimmy play
    just for their intensity. You never knew what was going to happen with those 2.
    When they played doubles...it must have been a nightmare for any officials, linesmen, chair umpire, referee, etc! But people would go to watch...

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