Jimmy Connors recently shed light on the hostility he faced from the elite players and his unapologetic approach, which had a drastic impact on the sport. American tennis legend Jimmy Connors is a name that resonates through the halls of tennis history. His exceptional talent and fierce determination not only earned him eight Grand Slams but also had a wondrous impact on the sport.
The Former World No. 1 initially rose to prominence in the 1970s when his unrivaled talent captivated audiences and often made him a subject of hostility and criticism. At the time, the sport was usually dominated by professionals with a refined image and exclusive backgrounds.
In a recent Spotify podcast, Advantage Connors, the American opened up about his approach back in the day and how he favored performing in front of an unsupportive crowd.
The 70-year-old claimed that he relished a hostile atmosphere while performing and hoped for a massive audience to witness his exquisite skillset as he stepped on the court.
“When I was first coming up, it was always a hostile crowd. You know, I kind of liked that. And the reason being is, you know, I always felt you know, you’re for me or against me, but you’re there, you know, and I said this before, I didn’t want to play in front of 1200 people in a gymnasium in Jacksonville, Florida. I wanted to play in front of 25,000 people and hundreds of millions and more on TV,” he spoke.
Furthermore, Jimmy Connors mentioned that the elite players weren’t acquainted with his unyielding determination, an attitude that hopefully assisted him in evolving the sport from “country clubs” to “blue-collar workers.”
“Hostile for the first number of years they were towards me because, you know, I was a different, a different personality, I had a different attitude, I had a different approach to my game and the way I wanted to play it and what it meant to me. The tennis elite weren’t used to that kind of attitude. You know, I took it from the country clubs to the hopefully the blue-collar worker,” he added.