The Outsider: A Memoir

The Outsider: A Memoir

by Jimmy Connors


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061242991
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/14/2013
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 1,309,523
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Jimmy Connors won a record 109 men's singles titles (and fifteen doubles titles) from 1972 to 1989. He was ranked the world's number-one player for five consecutive years and won a total of ten Grand Slams. In 1998 he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and he is arguably one of the top tennis players of all time. Originally from East St. Louis, he lives in Santa Barbara, California, with his family.

Read an Excerpt

The Outsider

By Jimmy Connors

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Jimmy Connors
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-124299-1

I'm 29 years old and for the last three years people have been telling
me I'm finished, washed up, done.
That doesn't sit well with me. I'll say when I'm done and I'm
not done yet. I haven't even reached my peak. Screw 'em.
It's 1981 and I lost my hold on the number one ranking in the
world in the previous year, and even though I've claimed 17 titles
since then, I haven't won a major tournament. There's an element of
doubt creeping into my daily training: Do I still belong? Can I still
compete at this level? I'm not winning. I'm being pushed onto the
back burner. That's hard to take.
I'm up, I'm down. I think I'm good and then I don't win. I get up
every day and do the right things, but the results aren't improving.
I'm getting to the semifinals, and I'm losing matches I should win.
Not good enough. Winning lesser tournaments along the way is
fine, but it's not the majors and that's what I'm looking for. Anyone
else in those years would have been content with my record— but
not me and obviously not the media. This has been the most frus-
trating three years of my career.
“You're not going to reach your prime until your thirties,” my
mom keeps telling me. “My prime? What the hell, Mom? What was
the last six or seven years about?”
“You wait,” she says. “You haven't played your best tennis yet.”
My wife, Patti, our two- year- old son, Brett, and I are living in

North Miami at Turnberry Isle, Florida. We moved down from
Los Angeles for the tennis, but distractions are everywhere. This
is a playground for the wealthy. Rich people come here from all
over the world for the gambling, discos, restaurants, golf, and— I'm
guessing— drugs. In the evenings I can go down to the courts and
play tennis against guys who bet $5,000 a set they can beat me if I
play them right- handed. Guess what? They can't. The extra cash is
nice, but the fun and laughs is what it's really all about. But I have
only one thing on my mind: reclaiming my position at the top of
the tennis world.
I continue to work my ass off every day, practicing two and a
half hours in the morning with the Turnberry Club tennis pro, Fred
Stolle, a former Grand Slam champion from Australia. He stands in
one corner of the court and hits the ball to the opposite corner so I
have to run the whole width of the court in order to return the shot.
Then he moves to the other corner and I do the same thing from the
other side. Then Fred comes up to the net and stands over on the right
side so that my forehand passing shots have to go up the line and my
backhand has to go crosscourt. Every drill I do is designed to replicate
a situation I'm going to face against my toughest opponents. I've never
hit a shot in a match that I haven't practiced over and over.
Later in the day I play a couple of sets with my longtime friend
David Schneider, a former top South African player, who practices
with me whenever I want to fine- tune what I worked on with Fred
that morning. Afterward, David and I have a Coke and relax as bud-
dies. It's nice to let tennis go and be able to talk about other things.
It's difficult balancing tennis with family life, my friends. When
I'm with my family, I feel like I'm slighting the tennis. When I'm
practicing, I feel like I'm slighting my family. When I get up at 6:30
a.m., Brett is eating breakfast and watching The Smurfs. I want to
spend time with him, but I know I have work to do on the court.

When I'm playing tennis, I feel I should be spending time at the pool
with Brett and Patti. There are conflicts everywhere I turn. When
friends visit, I want to go out and have fun with them, stay out late,
but then I am slighting both my tennis and my family. If I go down
to the restaurant for breakfast I'll see 10 people I'm obliged to say
hello to and that will hold up my day.
Mom is on the phone. I talk to her at least 10 times a day. This
may sound like a lot, but Mom is also my business manager. My
schedule is made six months in advance, so not only is she “checking
in” as a mother, mother- in- law, and grandmother; she is letting me
know about commercial offers, upcoming tournaments, and all the
numerous details involved in my career.
If any of the calls lasts more than a few seconds, it's because she
knows I'm having problems. She's concerned about me. I have to
push myself further than I want to, train harder, practice longer. I'm
older and things don't come as easily now. I don't mind the physi-
cal part. It's getting into the right mental state that I find tough. I
haven't been winning the way I expect to, but I have to find a way
to act as if I am, so I won't talk myself out of it. I don't want to fall
into that trap of saying, “Oh, shit, maybe they're right. Maybe I am
finished.” I have to find my self- confidence, even though I'm not
sure where I left it. Things aren't working out for me, so to get my-
self through it I have to be twice as arrogant. That's how I'll cope. I
can't go out there and just be half- assed; I've got to go all the way. I
have to be prepared, I have to be in the

Excerpted from The Outsider by Jimmy Connors. Copyright © 2013 Jimmy Connors. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

1 Out of the Shadows 1

2 Shaping an Attitude 18

3 Nothing Would Ever Be the Same Again 36

4 Lose Like a Man, Win Like a Man 70

5 The Main Locker Room 93

6 Nasty Entertainment 110

7 Love Game 132

8 Twin Peaks 160

9 Battle of the Balls 191

10 No One's Cup of Tea 219

11 The Point's Not Over 'Til It's Over 243

12 Meeting My Match 264

13 Björn Again 296

14 Back from the Dead 325

15 Cracks in the Foundation 350

16 House Divided 369

17 Road Warrior 395

18 Torment 420

19 Resurrection 443

20 Not Dogging It 473

21 A Friend Remembered 501

22 Open Heart 510

23 My Visit to the Big House 533

24 Passion Play 538

Acknowledgments 545

Customer Reviews

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The Outsider 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
David_Bremmerton More than 1 year ago
Jimmy Connors turned tennis into a rock star lifestyle with bad boy antics galore. His story is unconventional and well told. Five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jimmy Connors's The Outsider is a fascinating look into the life of one of tennis's greatest heroes (or antihero in some cases). Connors is very honest and forthcoming about his personal life and professional life. The stories are all very interesting, particularly his relationship with his mother.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Two thumbs up.
kentuckynook More than 1 year ago
As a tennis player from back in tennis' heyday, I was excited to read Jimmy's story, but unfortunately I have found it somewhat disappointing.   Jimmy writes as he plays, with a chip on his shoulder which I have found tiring.  He has revealed some interesting facts, especially about his mom and grandmother, but it's his writing style that has made it a read that I have struggled to finish.   Sorry Jimmy, I enjoyed Agassi's better. I also believe it is better to kiss and NOT tell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. Unlike a lot of other autobiographies, Connors doesn't sugar coat his life story. I was a big fan of his in the 70's and 80's. and appreciated the insights into his values, family, and life on tour. I agree with his assertion that current tennis players don't understand how to entertain the crowd. I haven't been interested enough to watch a match in quite a while. The book was well-written and the content was balanced between personal and professional. I highly recommend it. I never took Agassi seriously, so I never had an interest in his autobiography.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a tennis player, you will want to read this book. It is not as exciting as Andre Agassi's book, but Connors' totally honesty and true love of the game will keep you reading. There are plenty of words of wisdom from his family, friends and advisors, and some good tips of ways to approach your game. Read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book and well worth the read! I've read just about every tennis book there is and this is my new favorite! It's refreshingly honest and brings a full circle to anyone who was able to see Conners play tennis in his heyday. I certainly was never a Conners fan, though appreciated his fantastic run at his final US Open. It's surprisingly very well written and If there wasn't a "ghost writer", then I hope Conners gets credit for this masterpiece. This is in my opinion, which by the way, is unbiased and from one with a degree in journalism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read! Connors' take on tennis in the '70s and '80s is just as I remember it - plenty of spirited play and outsized personalities. Today's tennis would surely benefit from even a fraction of the 'playing to the crowd' fun they had back then. Jimmy tells it like he saw it - and lived it. Very frank and entertaining book.
ginoRT More than 1 year ago
I saw Jimmy in the Tonight Show and I was interested in reading the book. I am glad I read the book. It got my T-2000 from storage. He changed the world of tennis and made it a sport for the common person instead of the country club folks. Thanks "Jimbo" for your contribution to the sport.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I found out a lot of interesting facts that I never knew about Jimmy Connors and pro tennis. The book was entertaining as well. The pictures were great. I plan on giving this book as a gift to a few of my friends as birthday gifts because I know they will enjoy it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finished this book in two days. It is a very good read especially for those of us who grew up watching Connors, McEnroe and Everett. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have only begun reading this memoir by Jimmy. Always one of my favorite tennis players. His exuberance comes through the same in the book as on the court. Seems very truthful, honest. Appreciate the pictures also.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jimmy, your book reads like your tennis; fast, inspired, and thoroughly entertaining. Believe it or not, I even raised my own confidence on the court after reading your book!! Thank you, and please come back to the game.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For an autobiograhy great read. Big Connors fan and really enjoyed this from first page. I could not finish the Aggasi one.
yzerov1991 More than 1 year ago
Very interesting story and definitely not a struggle to read. Mr. Connors doesn't write like an author, but his writing style is what makes the book his. Well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
poodle29 More than 1 year ago
Met Jimmy at the B&N book signing. It was a tthrill to meet an American icon with such a charasmatic personality. The book answers many questions and is a good read for any tennis fan, especially for us baby boomers. Glad to see Jimbo looking good!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love that era of tennis this a great look back