Jimmy Connors began playing tennis when he was three years old. His mother Gloria, a teaching professional, was his instructor. Connors played at UCLA in 1971, then turned pro and won the U.S. Championship in 1972.
A lefthander who used a two-handed backhand, Connors was not given an opportunity to win the Grand Slam in 1974. He won the U.S. and Australian Opens and the Wimbledon singles championships, but was banned from the French Open because he played in the World team Tennis League.
He won his second Wimbledon title in 1982. Connors was ranked first in the world five years in a row. In 1989 he played in his 20th U.S. Open at the age of thirty-seven. Connors turned the crowd on with a fourth-round upset of Stefan Edberg before losing in the quarterfinals. Connors had 109 tournament victories and won $8,641,040.
John McEnroe played in one of the longest and greatest matches ever played in 1980, when he was defeated by Bjorn Borg after the two stars had battled for four hours and fifty-three minutes. He was considered to be one of the most cantankerous tennis players of all-time and was suspended from tournament play for two months in 1987 for temper tantrums and obscene language. McEnroe’s intensity made him one of the most compelling athletes of our time.
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