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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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...
Published 9 months ago by Matt182

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14 of 16 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 22 months ago by Claretta


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jimmy Connors was not the greatest tennis player of all time, 20 Dec. 2014
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When James Scott Connors won the Men's singles championship at Wimbledon in 1974, he was possibly the most unpopular champion ever. It wasn't just that he had beaten an icon in Ken Rosewall and denied the veteran 4 time finalist the last chance he would ever have of taking the men's crown. Nor was it simply the way he mercilessly pulverized Rosewall in hardly any time at all. It was also because he was young, brash, cocky, arrogant and almost insufferable.When he lost the following year's final to Arthur Ashe, the vast majority of those watching cheered raucously.
I know because I was one of them.
Fast forward then to 1982 and I am in the crowd on the Centre Court, in what was then the standing area, baking under a July sun and cheering enthusiastically every point Jimbo makes in a final which lasts over 4 hours before Connors eventually wins.
So why the change in my attitude towards the boy from Illinois? Why did this basically unloved brat become one of Wimbledon's most popular performers?
Many reasons. Most of which you will find in "The Outsider" Connors autobiography. One of them being that the brat had by then been replaced by the Superbrat and it was indeed John MCEnroe whom the 30 year old Connors defeated that US Independence Day.
Jimmy Connors was not the greatest tennis player of all time, though his record of winning the US Open 5 times (BJorn Borg never did win it) 2 Wimbledons and the Australian along with 7 other slam final appearances certainly makes him a contender.
He did not have Borg's top spin nor McEnroe's finesse but Connors played a streetfighting game in which no point was ever conceded without a contest. Connors was willing to chase down every ball no matter how far behind he was in the scoreline and basically people like that. He always gave the crowd their money's worth and by the end of his long career had won over those who had come at first to jeer and later found themselves cheering wildly.
People like me.
Connors narrative style and frequent change of tense can be a little annoying.But the substance of his story, the triumphs and the tragedies, the obsessions, the womanising and the gambling are never dull.
If you like tennis or just the inside story of the kind of things which go on in competitive sport at the highest level, then Connors narrative is well worth a read.
Thanks for the memories Jimbo.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The confession of Jimmy Connors, 18 July 2014
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This review is from: The Outsider: My Autobiography (Hardcover)
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.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves a sour taste, 30 Jun. 2013
By 
Claretta (London, England) - See all my reviews
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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?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars jimbo at last!!!!, 9 Jun. 2013
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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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, 5 Jan. 2014
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Really enjoyed this and I read lots of autobiographies, especially sports. I gave this 5 stars because you get exactly what you would expect from Jimmy Connors- totally engaging and fast paced coverage of the most exciting era in tennis from arguably the most influential individual the game has seen. I would recommend this to any sports fan, certainly any tennis fan. I would guess that if you did not like Connors this book is unlikely to change your view of him. Uncompromising would be a good description of him and his book. If you remember the reason tennis was so great in those years - you did not simply watch and admire the skills as you do now, you were completely drawn into the drama and the characters involved - you will love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight. !, 16 Jun. 2013
By 
Mrs. Beverley Mason (Wokingham , Berks, eingland) - See all my reviews
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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. !
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gambling, OCD...- the life of a champion, 16 Jun. 2013
By 
Neasa MacErlean (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Outsider: My Autobiography (Hardcover)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Jimmy!, 14 July 2013
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This review is from: The Outsider: My Autobiography (Hardcover)
I am Lesley Taylor and I live on the east side of Southampton, England and Jimmy Connors has always been my No. 1 tennis idol! We were both born in 1952 but sadly that is the only thing we have in common - with perhaps the exception of our love of tennis! I was delighted to discover that he has written his autobiography "The Outsider", which I was able to obtain from Amazon for a very competitive price. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. His written work was as compelling as his physical presence on the court, along with his completely unique style of tennis. The insight the book has given me into his life, from when he was little until the present day, has only served to heighten my total respect and admiration of the man, his tennis, and his "what you see is what you get" attitude to everything and everyone! It was fascinating to read about his relationship with so many other tennis players I remember from when I was a little girl. I used to watch Wimbledon with my dad and my brother on our little black and white television from a very young age so when Jimmy hit the circuit, I was well prepared and well versed in the sport! I found the book a little disjointed at times and had to "back-track" once or twice to remind me where he was at, but that did not detract from my total absorption and enjoyment of the book. Even though Jimmy was a naughty boy on occasions (we knew this about him anyway!) it didn't put me off at all and I am just so happy to have had the opportunity to get to know and understand him better. Thank you Jimmy for bringing me so much pleasure and enjoyment over the decades! You have always been (and will always be) my tennis hero! I wish you and your family much happiness and contentment in the coming years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More than you'd expect from this book: real characters, real insights, 25 Dec. 2014
By 
David Ferrabee "workman" (London UK) - See all my reviews
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I picked this up for 50p at my local library, not 3 miles from Wimbledon. I'm guessing it hadn't been flying off the shelf. And that's a real shame.
I grew up watching Jimmy Connors play, and although I was never going to be able to emulate his swagger, I have played against many who did. And I lost to almost all of them. He changed the way people played and as watched the game more than anyone else I have seen or studied. And while this book is not always pretty -- it's raw in many parts -- you cannot come away from it without liking Jimmy. And I promise he makes no effort in these pages to be liked.
Even for those with only a passing interest in tennis, but interested in sport and social history, this is great. Jimmy is great at questioning the orthodoxy without being disrespectful. And that's not easy. Just one example is how he writes about being a kid from East St Louis and coming to the UK and France. He won over the crowds in both places, but did so on his terms.
Where the book is probably most affecting though is when he talks about his friends and contemporaries. He's blunt, but not ever trite or really judgmental -- he's probably got no reason to be. But he can therefore paint a clearer picture of who they are. The result is probably a clearer understanding of people like Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe than you would get elsewhere.
Go down to your local library and take this one out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dislike the man - love the book!, 18 Jun. 2013
This review is from: The Outsider: My Autobiography (Hardcover)
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.
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The Outsider: My Autobiography by Jimmy Connors (Hardcover - 23 May 2013)
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