Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: the arms of a Swissie
Jimmy Conners weighs in
from the New York Times
Connors's Voice Is Still Clear
By NEIL AMDUR
Jimmy Connors returned to the United States Open this week for the first time in 10 years and noticed all the changes--from more space on the grounds to more power on the tennis court.
What hasn't changed is Connors's staying power. A televised rerun of his memorable 1991 five-setter with Aaron Krickstein during last weekend's rain delays pulled the same overnight rating as Lleyton Hewitt's live five-set thriller with James Blake.
"You've got to get something going to get the kids back in the game," Connors said yesterday of the state of tennis during an interview in Midtown before heading out to the National Tennis Center. "There's a lot of stuff competing for their attention and time."
Connors, who turned 50 last Monday, left the men's tour in 1992, one year later than he should have, he said.
"I should have stopped after '91," he said of his spectacular run to the Open semifinals that summer, at age 39, after undergoing surgery on his left wrist the preceding year. "It was the most exciting 11 days of my career."
Connors said he had not played much since the men's senior tour dissolved, but it has not stopped him from thinking about what is happening on the court.
¶On Hewitt, whose aggressive playing style and brash demeanor have been compared to Connors's: "Anybody who goes out and works out and grinds it out like he does is a favorite of mine. He's quick, he's young and he can change his game. If one thing doesn't work, he can go on to something else."
¶On Pete Sampras and his future: "It comes to the point where something else has to take over. It's up to him to find it if he wants to work that hard."
¶On the Williams sisters: "They certainly have reconstructed the women's game and taken it to the next level, like Tiger did in golf."
¶On differences between then and now: "It's a one-way game. Straight power. When Borg and McEnroe and Vilas and I played, it was using the court to your advantage. Guys could do more things and you had to adapt. Adapting is a lost art now."
Connors lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., with his wife and family. His mother, Gloria, 78, still lives in Belleville, Ill., and follows the sport.
"She called last weekend and said, `You're on TV,' " he said of the rerun of the Krickstein comeback. "I said, `You watch it.' "
The Tennis Refuge
You will be missed, Michel Kratochvil!