Book Review: Jimmy Connors The Outsider

As promised, here is a look into Jimmy Connors’ 2013 autobiography ‘The Outsider’. It’s the second of two recent reviews.

Connors was obviously a very successful player and, in this book, he doesn’t shy from venting his thoughts. He was involved in a golden era of tennis and never shy of controversy.

He reveals that he had gambling difficulties, luckily not severe enough to cause him too many issues. Rafael Nadal is the Connors of today, in this book the American reveals he has severe OCD when preparing to play a point and even at home – although he never knew it until later on.

As a champion of many events I did expect him to be quite more uplifting, some steam is let off in the book – including the occasional swear word. Having said that, it’s better that he didn’t express strong feelings and just stick on the safe side to not upset anyone (which I didn’t think he’d do).

I didn’t witness the times in which the two-time Wimbledon champion was playing his trade so it did offer me a learning curve and more knowledge into that particular era, which, unlike now, contained, more than its fair share of bust-ups at the top of the sport.

One thing that does catch the eye is his family-centered development through tennis. Success stories of family involvement in a player’s game are always eye-catching. In this case, his mum (or mom, as Jimmy and the rest across the pond insist on) had an impact on his style and aimed to preserve it.

An interesting read and not quite what I’d expected. I can’t criticise him for not being open about his personal life but I had wished for more insider detail on the great rivalries and classic matches.

Is a another chapter on its way? Maria Sharapova recently hired then sacked him as her coach after a mere one match. I’m sure many fans would be interested to know more on that and reasons as to why they didn’t work out.

***

– Nathan Morley

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