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on 16 June 2013
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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Although we have at last got a British champion this for me isn't a golden era in the men's singles at Wimbledon. I've only got a passing interest in tennis now, finding it a little dull and the players themselves even duller, but for a time back in the seventies and eighties tennis was compelling viewing. The reason for this is that men's tennis in this period featured some larger than life characters, players whose brilliance allied to their sheer unpredictability made you want to watch their matches because you didn't want to risk missing some breathtaking tennis or more likelier, the latest example of their outrageous behaviour. At the forefront of these players was the nice but nasty Romanian Illie Nastase, the argumentative Irish American John McEnroe and the author of this autobiography - the loud-mouthed maverick, Jimmy Connors.

As a player Connors was very abrasive, never holding back from arguing his corner if he thought that a line call had wrongly gone against him; in fact he courted confrontation and seemed to take pleasure in winding up both his opponent and the umpire. Although long retired, his autobiography reveals he hasn't changed, as it is written in the same aggressive, uncompromising style that he displayed as a player. Although this has caused some previous reviewers to brand him as being unpleasant I cannot agree because I believe he deserves credit for being scathingly honest - he his extremely self critical - which makes this book an engrossing read. It is clear that he can be a difficult person and admits to having lost a lot of money through gambling, drinking too much alcohol and cheating on his wife Patti, but the fact that he is still married to her after 34 years, suggests that either she is a saint or could it be that maybe he isn't quite as difficult as he would imagine?

Although the emphasis is very much on his tennis career and his triumphs and defeats receive full coverage, this book is at its best away from the tennis court. It is particularly revealing to read about the massive, and at times almost overwhelming, influence that his mother and grandmother had on his career, and the death of Connors friend, Vitus Gerulaitis, a fellow tennis pro who lived the playboy life but was blighted by an addiction to drugs.

Whilst it does run out of steam at times, this is still a sporting autobiography of the highest calibre.
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on 14 July 2013
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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on 25 December 2014
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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on 16 June 2013
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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on 27 May 2013
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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on 18 June 2013
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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on 12 June 2014
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.
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on 23 July 2013
As yet this book The Outsider: My Autobiography has not arrived on my Kindle and I have not found my receipt/ reference to ask why.
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on 14 July 2014
Very enjoyable and a real insight into the tennis world during Connors time.I have always been a big tennis fan and quite shocked at some of the events that happened!
Would recommend to anyone interested in tennis, you dont just have to be a Connors fan.
Good to read after Wimbledon!
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