If you're looking for a good tennis read to enjoy over the holiday weekend, you might want to think about checking out Jimmy Connors new bio, The Outsider.
While much has been said about the more scandalous issues — his storybook romance with tennis legend Chris Evert, to his battles with gambling and fidelity that threatened to derail his career and his long-lasting marriage to Playboy playmate Patti McGuire — there is much more to be gleaned from the book.
For the first time, Connors talks about growing up in St Louis and how he came to rule the game with his radically aggressive style of play and bad-boy antics that turned his matches into prizefights. In 1974 alone, he won 95 out of 99 matches, all of them while wearing the same white shorts he washed in the sink of his hotel bathrooms. Though he lived the rock star life away from tennis, his enduring dedication to his craft earned him eight Grand Slam singles titles and kept him among the top ten best players in the world for sixteen straight years—five at number one.
But in the end, it was his prolonged dedication to his craft that won him the public’s adoration. He capped off one of the most remarkable runs in tennis history at the age of 39 when he reached the semifinals of the 1991 U.S. Open, competing against players half his age.
Much to the chagrin of tennis fans everywhere, when Connors retired from tennis twenty years ago, he all but disappeared from public view.
Well, Jimmy's back, he's explaining and like all the rest of us, he has his demons…
Available online at Amazon.com.