3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars jimbo at last!!!!
The most important and significant tennis player of the open era finally opens up about his life and times being the world number one tennis player of the 70's. Sometimes angry, other times moving he gives allot of insight into what drove him and even distracted him in his quest to be the best and most exciting tennis player of his era and perhaps all time. However, there...
Published 13 months ago by karamjit gill
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves a sour taste
Jimmy Connors was one of the most compelling players of the open era of tennis, and when you watched him play you always knew he'd give it his all. I had high hopes of this book and although I enjoyed it I found it left me feeling sad. Connors has made a fortune and won the adulation of millions, but he is not a happy man. While he is clearly a good and loyal friend - he...
Published 13 months ago by Claretta
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves a sour taste,
Jimmy Connors was one of the most compelling players of the open era of tennis, and when you watched him play you always knew he'd give it his all. I had high hopes of this book and although I enjoyed it I found it left me feeling sad. Connors has made a fortune and won the adulation of millions, but he is not a happy man. While he is clearly a good and loyal friend - he adores Ilie Nastase and the section on the great Vitas Gerulaitis, who died tragically young, is particularly touching - he also has an uncanny knack of falling out with everyone. Promoters, agents, former friends, umpires, even his own brother (whom he was involved in litigation with for over a decade)- all fall out of favour. As everyone knows by now, Chris Evert is portrayed in an unflattering light as a prissy control freak, and he seems to have a completely irrational hatred of Andre Agassi, because of some off-the-cuff remark Agassi made early on in his career.
There is a lot of score-settling in this book, and Connors still seems to be brimming with anger. There are also some great descriptions of matches, but you don't get much feel for what it was like being on the tour in those days - perhaps becasue Connors didn't really socialise with his peers. The real hero of this book is his wife Pattie, who seems to be little short of a saint. To do Connors credit, he clearly adores her and is ashamed of how badly he has behaved at times (having told her he no longer wanted to be married, he cut up her credit cards when she dared to consult a lawyer.)
This book isn't in the same league as Agassi's autobiography (which I highly recommend) or McEnroe's. I found it an interesting read, but it left me with the feeling that I wouldn't much like to spend time with Jimmy Connors.
Update on 24/7/13: Connors has recently been taken on by Maria Sharapova as a coach. Now that should be interesting ....
Further update on 22/3/13: That didn't last long - Sharapova sacked Connors after one match. Perhaps there will be a chapter on this in the paperback version?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars jimbo at last!!!!,
The most important and significant tennis player of the open era finally opens up about his life and times being the world number one tennis player of the 70's. Sometimes angry, other times moving he gives allot of insight into what drove him and even distracted him in his quest to be the best and most exciting tennis player of his era and perhaps all time. However, there are moments where he leaves the finer details to your imagination hence my 4 out of 5 stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What have I missed??,
I never liked Jimmy Connors.
He disappeared from the tennis scene for some years then suddenly popped up at Wimbledon as a pundit and then commentator. I just couldn't reconcile the person he was with how he is now. Or appears to be now. Polite, respectful and giving so much praise to other players, especially my favourites Stefan Edberg and Tim Henman. Although Sampras and Federer don't seem to have registered with him as all time greats.
So I decided to read his book. I read Mac's and can highly recommend it. He was a bad boy , who we have all come to love.
I struggled through it and yes, it clarified a lot of the rumours that were around at the time. (Although I still won't forgive him for missing the Wimbledon Parade of Champions. Or some of his comments about Wimbledon for that matter. )
He seems to take a lot of credit for the way the game changed....' Opening the gates of the exclusive clubs to make tennis available to the real fans' . Mmmm, I think there were a few others as well.
I feel as if I am missing something. His wife( who deserves a gold medal ) and his children obviously adore him, so why do I feel that I still don't like him ?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight. !,
Fabulous book never new all that about his childhood ! Always been a massive fan back in his heyday ! Just goes to prove what hard work and determination can do. !
5.0 out of 5 stars The confession of Jimmy Connors,
I've been a bit of a Jimmy Connors fan for years after watching re-runs of his matches on Wimbledon and seeing him interviewed a couple of times at Wimbledon, most notably the time before last I saw him at The Championships ('08 or '09) before making a surprise appearance this year and doing some commentary for BBC. When I found out he had released an autobiography last summer I knew that I had to get it. I have previously read John McEnroe's autobiography, which I really enjoyed and found insightful so I was hoping for the same from Jimmy.
I wasn't around when Jimmy was playing professionally and I got into tennis in '06 so my interest in McEnroe and Connors comes from footage of how they played and who they are now. I'm a big fan of current tennis but I think I find something exciting about the way it was back then and the personalities which is quite different from nowadays.
The book starts in an interesting time in his career in 1981 where he tells us people have been saying he's 'finished, washed up, done' and how he was determined to work his way back to the top and be better than anyone believed he could be. The story takes us through Jimmy's upbringing in East St Louis, Illinois and how his mum taught him to play alongside his grandmother nicknamed 'Two-mum', due to her being like a second mother to him. The struggles are discussed including a savage attack on public courts where his mother, gran and grandfather were brutally assaulted by two youths. His mother went on to be his manager through his professional career alongside coach Pancho Segura. Alongside word-class tennis was life off the court - partying with Ilie Nastasie (but always in moderation) - his close friend, an on-off relationship with Chris Evert, former Miss world Marjorie Wallace and his Wife - Playboy model Patti McGuire. Jimmy had problems with tennis federations and promoters, with lawsuits and with other players. Jimmy reflects on those issues with good humour as he did back then. Jimmy came to the fore when tennis was becoming popular with your average Joe and not just the Country club upper crust. It was a golden age for tennis and alongside McEnroe, Borg, Nastase Gerulaitis and Lendl; made the sport appealing for everyone. Jimmy pioneered the aluminium racket when the sport was transitioning from wooden racquets. He was the outsider and never really fit in with the clan of players that coalesced at the time.
Connors gives some interesting views throughout the book including his thoughts on today's tennis. Jimmy was a founder of the seniors tour and he tells us how he just didn't want to stop and had to keep going. He tells us he stills plays tennis every day even after 3 hip operations (he doesn't like the uneven number due to his OCD!). He discusses family life and even though there's been struggles how he's been married to the same woman for 35 years. Even in his later years Jimmy wasn't living it down quietly getting intro trouble with the Santa Barbara police department at a college football game with his son, for which he got arrested! The book ends with heartfelt acknowledgements to those who helped him through his life and tennis career.
I really enjoyed reading this book and in many parts it was more blunt and revealing than Johnny Mac's autobiography. Jimmy puts it all out there including an abortion that Chris Evert had against his wishes which the press had a field day with when the book was released and Evert didn't know he had included it. Jimmy approaches life with humour and honesty and that's what helps make this book so enjoyable that he tells it like it is and doesn't hold back. I would definitely recommend this for any tennis fan.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT READ,
This is one of the best tennis Autobiographies I have read to date. It brutally honest, gripping, sad in many places and also very humorous.
Well done Jimmy you are sorely missed on tour. I totally admired your style of play and how you always put your life and soul into the game which comes over so well in your book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gambling, OCD...- the life of a champion,
This book would put you off being a top tennis player. Jimmy Connors clearly had many great times in his career but the downside is huge. All that bouncing of the ball before serving was part of his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He was also a gambler who just about managed to stay out of big trouble - but had scrapes like losing $60,000 in four hours in Caesars Palace and having to win the tournament he was in to pay the debt. He was addicted to tennis as well - as you would need to be at that level. One could ask if most top sports players are slightly crazed after reading this - Nastase with his addiction to women, Borg who gave in to some of his demons after he retired at age 26 from tennis and the late cocaine-taking Vitas Gerulaitis. It is a good, highly readable book, though. And Connors and co had great fun along the way. Chris Evert will not be dancing with joy at the descriptions of her. But one of the most touching elements of the book is about Connors' great admiration of women. It is very encouraging that such a masculine man should love and admire his mother and grand-mother so much. They were his first trainers. Fans of Jimbo will generally like this book - as he comes across just as he seemed on the court. He is cheeky, a rough diamond, a fighter to the end, an adventurer and someone who could look honestly at himself, his faults on the court and off. Despite the warts and all self-portrait, I admire him just as much as I did back then.
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DJimbo Unchained,
Jimmy Connors is the most significant player of the Open era, period. End of discussion. His brand of tennis, coupled with his larger-than-life persona, ushered in the Golden Age of Tennis. The rise in the tennis' popularity is intertwined with his rise in the tennis rankings. As most of the era's important players have written at least one book, Connors' absence from the bookshelves left a noticeable void. At last, that emptiness has been filled. To an extent. Those expecting to hear Jimbo's unique insight into some of the most important tennis matches in history--after all, at one time, he had participated in 16 of the 17 highest rated matches in history--will be disappointed, as Connors offers but a cursory view of his most significant matches. In its place, Connors opens up with riveting stories of the events that molded his character. For this alone, the book merits a five-star review. Psychologists tell us that much of what is wrong (and right) in adults can be traced to events that occurred during our childhood. Some trace these same qualities in a man back to his relationship with his mother. In his autobiography, "The Outsider," Connors offers a mother lode of evidence supporting both theories.
I was fortunate to have been a part of the Connors inner circle during all 5 of his U.S. Open victories, and let me tell you, it was one hell of a ride. As the first telegenic tennis superstar, Connors was a magnet for the media, fans and sponsors. To have witnessed him play in 1974 was to have had a front row seat to history. He was so good, that he managed to turn his mistakes into gold. For example, when he lost in the 1975 Australian Open finals to John Newcombe, he turned that defeat into the cash machine that was the second Challenge Match - a concept that, more than any other, ushered in big money to the tennis game.
Connors' indefatigable appearances promoting his book prompted much discussion on an issue that many feel should have been left out of the book. I will not add to that discussion. However, I will say that "The Outsider" leaves the reader with the impression that the tennis legend had a lot to get off his chest. And he succeeds in doing so. For instance, he attempts to settle the score with Andre Agassi, over the younger player's major dis of Connors in his book, "Open." On another occasion, he calls Arthur Ashe a coward for not confronting him on, what the reader is lead to believe is, the issue of lawsuits. That was not the case. Ashe left the note in his Wimbledon locker in 1977 because he felt Connors should have attended the ceremonies commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Wimbledon tournament.
There are a several other gaffes that few others will catch. Among them: the Donald Trump story about Trump's seating during the Connors-Agassi 1987 match--the Connors group was sitting in the USTA box, and Trump left us to go to his own box; the book claims that Borg never beat Connors at the U.S. Open, but the Swede defeated him during the 1981 semifinals; there is a picture of Robert Harper wearing a "James Gang" t-shirt that is misidentified as me. But these are relatively minor errors that can be corrected in subsequent editions.
The book is chock full of player anecdotes and hilarious recollections. But more than anything else, the book is a love letter to his beloved wife Patti. Patti's theme song may very well be "Stand by Your Man," because she certainly has, through the most trying of circumstances. I was one of the few Connors friends who stood by her through some of her darkest days that are well documented in the book, and I can honestly say, she has always been a star. Connors reveals much information about his relationship with his mother and grandmother that was, heretofore, unknown. And, as referenced above, it provides a clearer understanding of not only Jimmy Connors the tennis player, but Jimmy Connors the person.
Douglas Henderson Jr., was a main part of Jimmy Connors' inner circle during the U.S. Opens from 1974-1992. Henderson has documented his relationship with Connors and Ashe in his book "Endeavor to Persevere: A Memoir on Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, Tennis and Life."
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dislike the man - love the book!,
I never liked Connors and reading the book has not changed that opinion but I really enjoyed the read.
I was a real die-hard fan of tennis during the 70's and 80's and Connors' book brought it all back - the names, the tournaments, the troubles with the different administrative bodies etc. Gossipy snippets about his contemporaries are in abundance - Nasty, Lendl, Borg, Mac, Gerulaitis etc. The press has placed much emphasis on the Chris Evert revelations - it's there more by inference than direct narrative and is an extremely small part of the book.
The honesty of Connors in describing some of the more troubled moments in his life is quite refreshing. His wife's strength of character is astounding.
I no longer follow tennis with more than a cursory ear to a radio bulletin nowadays - there are no characters, it's all about the money and the technology to make players appear better than they really are. Tennis has definitely changed since Connors' time..... and not for the better. The Connors' era was about tennis troubadours, entertainment and personal rivalries. Yes - money was starting to creep into the game and plays a part in the book - but these guys started playing because they loved the game - there were no other rewards on offer at the time.
I doubt that any player from today would make as riveting a read.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity,
I was looking forward to this book. Despite being poorly written it was an entertaining enough read. To his credit he was pretty open about his private life and his relationship with his mother and grandmother, as well as his wife. I would have preferred deeper analysis of his great rivalries and classic matches. It was very lazy in that respect. Bjorn Borg's ghost written book was very good in that respect. This man played in several eras and is therefore better placed than any player in history to comment on the greats from the 60's, 70;s, 80's and early 90's. For instance Mats Wilander got two lines. This is a player who won 7 GS titles and who never lost to Connors. Having outlasted Borg how did Connors feel when another Swedish baseliner came along, whom he could not hurt in a match? Edberg was treated similarly. Not even Borg, McEnroe and Lendl were treated to a decent analysis. I could go on.
Despite all the shortcomings, and there are many, there is much to like about the book, It is a must have for any fan of tennis but the definitive book on Jimmy Connors has yet to be written. It probably won't be at this stage.
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The Outsider: A Memoir by Don Yaeger (Paperback - 6 May 2014)
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