Jimmy Connors is a working-man's hero, a people's champion who could tear the cover off a tennis ball, just as he tore the cover off the country-club gentility of his sport. A renegade from the wrong side of the tracks, Connors broke the rules with a 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.
In The Outsider, Connors tells the complete, uncensored story of his life and career, setting the record straight about his formidable mother, Gloria; his very public romance with America's sweetheart Chris Evert; his famous opponents, including Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Ivan Lendl, and Rod Laver; his irrepressible co-conspirators Ilie Nastase and Vitas Gerulaitis; and his young nemesis Andre Agassi. Connors reveals how his issues with obsessive-compulsive disorder, dyslexia, gambling, and women at various times threatened to derail his career and his long-lasting marriage to Playboy Playmate Patti McGuire.
Presiding over an era that saw tennis attract a new breed of passionate fans - from cops to tycoons - Connors transformed the game forever with his two-handed backhand, his two-fisted lifestyle, and his epic rivalries.
The Outsider is a grand slam of a memoir written by a man once again at the top of his game - as feisty, unvarnished, and defiant as ever.
©2013 Jimmy Connors (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
Books have always been an escape for me: initially from my studies, now from too much work. A good story is my favorite remedy.
Anyone who is familiar with the persona of Jimmy Connors on the court will likely be curious to know whether that was the real him or simply a PR stunt. By the end of the book, I concluded that (like most things in life) the answer is somewhere in-between. Connors readily admits to much of the hijinks that many of us witnessed in the 1970s and 80s, but provides some fairly raw admissions of poor decisions and actions. However, peppered in-between are several endearing accounts of the relationships that launched his career and/or accompanied him along the way. Truth is, I wasn't sure of the sincerity part until later in the book, when Mr. Connors spent a considerable amount of time acknowledging all those folks who'd supported him during his heyday: his fellow players, his family, even his dogs. I don't think an ego-maniac would devote so much attention to praising others (and admitting to his own failures) if there wasn't a healthy dose of sincerity and humility in there somewhere. Color me impressed.
The tricky part is that I am a huge fan of autobiographies and I am a tennis nut, so I had high hopes for this one. In all fairness, before this book I read Andre Agassi's 'Open' autobiography, and that is a very, very tough act to follow as it was phenomenal; one of my favorites of all time. So for me, in a way, it was like the Connors v. Agassi match at the US Open, with Connors getting just destroyed, and then hearing Connors complain and take verbal jabs.
Connors was funny at times throughout the book, but he mentions that people don't change. He was notorious for giving the finger to fans during a tennis match, yelling obscenities at the officials and bad mouthing his opponents, so imagine a whole book full of that. Admittedly, I was never a big Connors fan but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and hear his side of the story, his life, his personal story. However, there was little, if any, character arc.
The narrator did a great job.
Say something about yourself!
This was a good audiobook. I am glad I purchased it, I never really had the chance to watch Connors, but I was really curious to listen about that era.
It is a sparring partner to Open, he definitely takes some shots at that book and I admire that he says what he feels honestly.
He has the attitude to fit the words and capture what Jimmy was going for.
No, some funny parts. Hearing about his mother being attacked was definitely alarming. I like Jimmy Connors after listening to this book.
If you like sports bios check this one out.
Reason my family loved watching Connors so much, Now revealed.
Honesty, insight to stuff we all watched on the court, mostly thrilled sometimes offended, always getting what we wanted! My parents taught me that to live in a bubble would be to miss what life is all about!! Jimmy Connors was the thrilling enigma we all watched together as a family to cheer and learn. Muhammed Ali was the same.Great stuff Jimmy!
His french rendition of an overly "Relaxed" Yannick Noah, talking to Jimmy before an exhibition match.
Laughed, cried, remembered my father who passed, and all the moments we had to share because we both cheered Jimmy Connors
Just great to revisit, and see the perpetuation of great characters like Jimmy Connors.
This is a solid book if you are a tennis fan and remember Connors, McEnroe, et al. from the 70s and 80s.
It is interesting to contrast Andre Agassi's childhood (as told by him in his book) with Jimmy Connor's. Andre hated tennis, Jimmy loved it. It is clear from Jimmy's story that he truly loved the game, loved to play it any chance he got, and that is ultimately what drove him to success.
Orlow is convincing as Connors.
I thought the first half of the book was great; surprisingly, things slowed down and gets a little boring as Jimmy gets more and more famous. Probably because he didn't want to do a "tell all" and reveal too many stories about other players and his own exploits off the court. But the stories he does tell are revealing.
It's an easy read, and although Jimmy doesn't put his life out there 100%, he puts enough to keep it interesting and insightful. Recommend.
Father of three with no time to actually read, but also a former history teacher and current attorney with a long commute-I love audiobooks.
Yes--interesting insight from a legend
He goes into everything--the good, the bad and the ugly
As with most biographies, especially of famous people who you've heard speak, it would be much better had Conners read it himself
Enjoy mostly non fiction and the occasional thriller.
If you grew up or are familiar with the Connors, Borg, McEnroe era you will not be disappointed. Hearing his side of things actually made me a Connors fan whereas I grew up siding with McEnroe and his temper tantrums. Highly recommend.
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