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This review is from: The Outsider: My Autobiography (Hardcover)
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."
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Initial post: 16 Jun 2013 18:21:05 BDT
Interesting,but I do hate people who use reviews of other people's books to publicise their own.
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2013 16:10:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Jun 2013 16:13:28 BDT
Douglas Henderson says:
Hate is an awfully strong word. And it's far too prevalent in this world. One would think, in this Internet world, when one bothers to review a book, and offers insights that are, otherwise, unavailable, one would want to know the credibility of the reviewer. That was the sole purpose of my including this. When Joel Drucker reviewed my book, he mentioned he was the author of a book on Connors. Ditto Steve Tignor. Perhaps the reader is unaware of such protocol.
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