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Last Updated: Monday, 31 May, 2004, 15:45 GMT 16:45 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 he beat the rest - his competitiveness.

Jimmy Connors was a noisy, brash American who never knew he was beaten.

He won two Wimbledon titles, the first against Ken Rosewall in 1974 before he beat John McEnroe in 1982.

And that gap of eight years between wins proved his never-say-die attitude as most of his seventies contemporaries had either retired or were in decline.

McEnroe got his revenge against his great rival two years later when he totally outplayed Connors 6-1 6-1 6-2 in the shortest final in the Open era.

Following the defeat he was asked if he now admitted his rival was the better player. Approaching 30, he 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 was okay in his book.

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 Wimbledon title came at the age of 21 when the 39-year-old Rosewall had no answer to an array of punishing groundstrokes.

After the 6-1 6-1 6-4 win 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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SEE ALSO
Classic Matches: Connors v Pernfors
31 May 04  |  Wimbledon History


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