Sunday, 2 September 2012

Happy Birthday Jimmy Connors

Today, the 2nd September, is the sixtieth birthday of one of the greatest players ever to grace a court...the streetfighter, Jimmy Connors.
A fabulous player from the back of the court, Jimmy's movement was supreme. No ball was ever too hopeless to chase down. One of John Hovis's earliest memories was watching the great J.C. at Wimbledon in 1980, losing to Johnny Mac in the semi-final. Much sadness; on watching the match I was instantly a Connors fan, even though I knew nothing. It was instinct: I like Connors bowl cut and bustling style as much as I found McEnroe's perm, headband and scowl distasteful. Although distraught, I still recall the sense of elation felt two years later when I watched the improbable final unfold at SW19. The magical JC mopped the grass with Superbrat.
Strangely, John Hovis became a fan of serve and volley tennis and has enjoyed the artists over the artisans. Connors hustle is more akin to the current 'grinder' approach as demonstrated by the Nadals of the tour, which John Hovis finds distasteful. Yet Connors was more. Much, much more. His touch was exquisite, quick hands, menacing shot making prowess, darting movements, angles, range, lobs and that double-handed backhand. I loved when he changed to a metal racquet. When John Hovis was a boy, he played with a double-handed backhand simply to be like the great JC. He also had a bowlcut, sadly not by choice. Long live the great man. To celebrate his birthday, I'm posting links to his memorable US Open run of 1991. Firstly, his floodlit comeback against Johnny Mac's wee brother Patrick. GET IN THERE, JIMMY!

Now for part two...

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