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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Wimbledon legends: Jimmy Connors
Jimmy Connors
Born: 02/09/52
Belleville, Illinois, USA
Wimbledon titles: 1974, 1982
Runner up: 1975, 1977, 1978, 1984
Grand Slam titles: 8
Prize money: $8,614,040

'Jimbo' may have lacked the supreme natural talent of John McEnroe or Rod Laver but there was one area where Connors was streets ahead of the rest - his competitiveness.

A noisy, brash American, Connors never knew he was beaten and gave absolutely everything on every point of every game, no matter how apparently hopeless the cause.

He proved it in 1982 when he won his second Wimbledon title eight years after the first, when most of his contemporaries had either retired or were in decline.

The following year he was given such a pasting in the final by John McEnroe he was asked afterwards if he now admitted his rival was the better player.

Connors, then approaching 30, answered with one word: "Never."

He was not averse to playing to the crowd or abusing his opponent or the umpire. Anything he could think of to give himself an edge.

It worked. His 109 professional titles is far and away a record in the men's game and he spent 268 weeks as world number one.

His first title at Wimbledon came at the age of 21 when he destroyed the 39-year-old Ken Rosewall. After that match, his coach Pancho Segura described him as "a real killer with the heart of a lion."

Connors was, and still is, an independent character with little time for traditions.

In 1977, he refused to take part in a parade of former champions on Centre Court to celebrate the tournament's centenary and was booed when he went out to play the following day.

Although a great crowd favourite in his later years at Wimbledon, he was even more in his element in the tinderbox atmosphere of New York, where he won the US Open five times.





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