Sunday, 16 September 2012

Jimmy Connors...US Open part two...

Following his incredible five set win over Patrick Mac, Connors had two simple straight set victories over Michiel Schapers and Karel Novacek. Ordinary enough, you may have thought. Don't forget: Connors was pushing forty and 174 in the world. He had barely recovered from wrist surgery to boot.

J.C's next victory was the one which remains one of the greatest of all time. Commentators these days (I'm looking at YOU Mark Petchey) can't get through a single set without roaring 'that was one of the greatest rallies of all time!', This is one of the greatest matches of ALL time!', 'That was one of the greatest changeovers OF ALL TIME!'. Jimbo's five setter against Aaron Krickstein genuinely was a classic. The younger man took the first set. The second went to a tiebreak which turned on Connors utilising one of his greatest weapons - manipulating the crowd. Down a set point, he turned on the umpire with memorable results. Firing himself up, the crowd responded with Jimmy taking the set. The effort drained him, Krikstein winning the third 6-1. Connors responded (later adding that he let the set slide in order to get a second wind) winning the fourth.

In the decider, Krikstein was 5-3 up and serving for the match. Jimbo fought back, taking the match to another tiebreak. The crowd exploded as Jimmy Connors took the match on his 39th birthday. Even more impressive is the fact that Connors won through his semi despite the fact that he had to be put on a drip following the Krickstein match!

(The above video consists of the final set tie break and J.C's famed 'this is what they want' speech to camera.

Jimbo and the umpire...

Fabulous rally...

Jimmy went on to defeat Paul Haarhuis in four sets, going out himself in the semi-final to the young Jim Courier in straight sets. A semi-final while ranked 174 and 39 years of age is a remarkable achievement; one which will be long remembered.

I truly can't wait to read J.C.'s autobiography.

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