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September 4, 1992

Jimmy Connors


Q. Jimmy, as we saw the game, the errors, you made a lot of unforced errors. You know?

JIMMY CONNORS: Nobody is perfect. I was the one forcing the action. He just stayed out there and bunted the ball back. I was the one that was being aggressive and forcing the action. So I guess when you do that, then you are going to make a few more errors. I don't think I played too badly.

Q. He feels very comfortable on the baseline and you never tried to pull him to the net--

JIMMY CONNORS: It is like pulling teeth. He just refuses to come in. He doesn't play anything like he used to. Before, he used to come over that backhand. Now, you know, talking to Vitas, he said he almost plays with fear now, just to bunt the ball back. He is satisfied with bunting the ball back, which is different than the way he used to play. He used to come over the ball and whack it from the baseline. I don't think he does that much anymore. But pulling him in, I was hitting balls short enough with some angle only to bring him in. He refuses to come.

Q. Jimmy, how do you feel physically, right now?

JIMMY CONNORS: I feel all right.

Q. No problems?


Q. That first set, how well do you think you played?

JIMMY CONNORS: It's pretty sweet to be able to play like that, still. Unfortunately, you know, I go through it. I expend so much energy now, in a set like that. It would have been a lot different if-- I think at 2-All or something, in the second set, I think I had a breakpoint, at 2-All? And if I would have won that game, to go up another break, and keep the pressure on him, it would have been interesting, a little more interesting.

Q. What now, Jimmy? After this, what does the future hold for you. Do you think about it at the moment?

JIMMY CONNORS: For tennis?

Q. Yes.

JIMMY CONNORS: I mean, I have got a busy year. I have got a match with Martina coming up in two weeks. And I have got a full schedule in tennis-wise, and I have a book coming out this fall. I have to do some work for my book coming out. That's going to be a lot of fun. I have got a full year coming out the rest of this year. Tennis-wise, and otherwise.

Q. Jimmy, when you play a guy like Lendl, Lendl has got such a history with you. Do you have any special feelings when you play a match against a guy like that, or is he just another match?

JIMMY CONNORS: I guess you got to treat him as just another match. I mean, ten or twelve years ago he had-- actually, more that that. Twelve or fourteen years ago he had the opportunity to jump in the Borg, McEnroe, Connors triangle, and he didn't do it. He could have made it pretty interesting, you know, with the four of us. He didn't do that. He chose to bide his time a little bit more. That would have -- I don't feel the rivalry with him as I do with Borg and McEnroe, or I did not feel that.

Q. You have had a career full of memories, but if you had to choose just one favorite memory, Jimmy, in your career, what would it be?

JIMMY CONNORS: It is impossible to do. I think playing here last year and coming out this year for the first match and even tonight was-- you can't buy that. That is what I worked 22 years to hopefully get from the people, and the people make it all worthwhile for me now. You know, to come out try and play as well as I can, they were excited out there and that is the way they were when I was the best player. You know, 15, 20 years ago, and that, to me, is worth everything. You know, for me to still be able to create some excitement so that they can yell and scream and be part, it's been a part of the tennis. It is impossible for me to say that was the most exciting one night of my career. It is impossible to say that, because every time I play here, it is something new it is something different, and something that creates a fonder memory for the next year, more so here than anyplace in the world for me because of the people.

Q. Jimmy, when you talked about -- you talked about this year having a busy schedule. Do you hope or when do you start to sit down and try to plan next year, do you have a busy schedule, can you even look that far?

JIMMY CONNORS: I already started planning my next year. I am going to play maybe eight tournaments on this tour and I am hopefully play six, hopefully eight for the 35 and overs. And then play some from -- some special and some exhibitions, but I am going to play less and start spending a little more time on my outside work, and with my family.

Q. Can a Grand Slam be in there?

JIMMY CONNORS: The French, I don't think so. As much as I love playing the French, and love the place, and the city, I will go there for the time, but I don't think I can play the singles there anymore. It is just too tough. I will play doubles, though. I am going to resurrect my doubles career. I have got a new partner now and we are in there. We skyrocketed to 975 on the computer after Indianapolis. But doubles I am play, just because I enjoy the city so much. You know, Wimbledon, it's a different story Wimbledon, if-- because if I am feeling good like I am playing here and feeling like I played here, the points are shorter, and I can work a little free points and get by with a lot there, so that is a possibility. And here, I mean, I feel like I played well enough today, I could have beat a lot of guys tonight. He just happened to be one that I couldn't. But that is part of the draw I have always wanted to be a dangerous floater in a draw, but I didn't want to be it when I was 40. I would have preferred to be it when I was 30, but it is okay.

Q. You have never been really close to Ivan, have you, personalities?


Q. Has there been any residue of the bitterness of the Masters and those sort of things --

JIMMY CONNORS: Not from me there isn't.

Q. -- Floated down the years?

JIMMY CONNORS: I don't know. You should ask him that, I don't know. Not from me.

Q. In your case?

JIMMY CONNORS: I don't care. That was happened one night and it is over. That is his reputation that follows him.

Q. When you played that sweet tennis in the first set, what does it feel like? Did you just feel like everything was going in that first set?

JIMMY CONNORS: No, I came out with a plan of not staying back and hitting more than five balls. And anything short, I was going to take advantage of and get to the net. I served and volleyed as well as I have ever done in my life. And then -- I expended so much energy in doing that, that, you know, then I found myself playing back and hitting seven balls a point and then trying to get in and then it was too late. Seven balls was too many. Five was perfect and then I had an opportunity on the fifth ball. I didn't take advantage of, so I started slowing down a little bit.

Q. You had one point where you finished up -- you saved the point, but you were draped over the clock after it.

JIMMY CONNORS: I wanted to see what time it was; how much longer do I have.

Q. What time was it?

JIMMY CONNORS: It was about 10:27 and getting near time to go home. No, it is, you know, I do that -- actually, I felt better here than I felt all summer, physically, and mentally, and I ran down a few balls, and kept the ball in play, and that takes it's toll on me, but it doesn't last long. The problem is that it lasted-- if it lasts a point that is too much, it gives them a chance to come out and get a free point next point, whereas, maybe six years ago or five years ago, I would be right back in there ready to play another tough point. That is a little bit tough to take, but, you know, that is just part of it.

Q. Do you know that going into a point like that that point is going to be awful hard for you if he hits it back over?

JIMMY CONNORS: I know it is going to happen, yeah, but I am not going to change my style now. And I have made my reputation after, about trying after everything that no matter where the ball is I am going for it, and that is what the people still like to see, and they don't mind seeing me drape over a clock too, so I mean it is --

Q. It works?


Q. Jimmy, did it matter to you tonight that this was Lendl that you lost to Lendl?

JIMMY CONNORS: What do you mean?

Q. Well, I mean you have got such a history with him. You have played each other 100 times. Would it be better or easier to take or whatever if you lost to somebody else instead of him?

JIMMY CONNORS: No easier to take on either side. It is not easier, it is probably -- I mean, it doesn't affect me either way who I lose to. I don't like losing to anybody, still. Maybe that is one thing that keeps me in there, I guess like I am, but like I said, I think I could have beaten a lot of guys tonight, I can get by with muscling a lot of guys still, and going in and playing my game, and muscling them. You know, I couldn't do that with him. He was content just to stay back and bunt the ball back, and he is eight years younger and a little bit-- he is bigger and stronger and he is in a little bit better shape. So he is content to- (Jimmy makes sound)- do that a lot of guys wouldn't get by with that. That is what happens. It is all right. I am not going to go home and commit suicide, that is for sure. Not tonight, anyway.

Q. Is there any player you would like to see have a run like you had last year?

JIMMY CONNORS: Hell, no. Why? Why do I want to see that? I mean, first of all, I don't know if -- that couldn't happen, because of -- I think because of the age of all of the players. -- The people got into that because number one because I played some pretty good tennis but because of the age factor, you know, the people in the stands are not 25 and under. They are 35 and over. And I think that played a big part in what happened last year, and even here, the first night, and then even tonight, I mean, the crowd, and the feedback, and the enthusiasm and the thrill of me walking out there and seeing that crowd but those were all the people that were out there 20 years ago when I first started. A lot of them didn't like me then. Some of them did. They stayed around for all of this time to still come out and watch me play, and because of that, they feel a part of me, and vice versa. I feel a part of them, too. That is why I love coming here because I have a relationship with these people, that is beyond tennis. It is beyond what I do. It is the sportsfan and their attitude that makes me what I am here. Can you understand that?

Q. Yes.

JIMMY CONNORS: You do? Explain it to me, then, will you? It is different here than anyplace in the world for me.

Q. Jimmy, why do you suppose if they didn't like you 20 years ago they like you now?

JIMMY CONNORS: I don't know you better go quiz them on that. That is tough for me to answer. I mean, I think my attitude was different then. They had not seen or they -- I was new. My attitude was new. My game was new. How I went about things was different. I was not a country club player. I came from a small town. I was public parks player and I had the attitude of that. And tennis was just then starting to leave the country club and start growing in people that weren't just the real tennis expert. So when they started coming into tennis establishment was always, did you see what he did, Jesus Christ, he is a bad boy, and kind of didn't like my attitude which was fine, but that kind of attitude is what brought fun, the people, the real sportsfan, who weren't afraid to say, hey, this isn't too bad. I mean, the kid is out there grinding his guts out. He is not afraid to say what he thinks and do what he wants to do, but he is playing some damn good tennis, so whether you like me or you hate me, you still enjoyed coming back the next day. And that is -- that is what they still -- I guess enjoy seeing now, that I still am not afraid to go out there and share my thoughts and my attitude, and things in the open so that they can see just how I feel. I mean, everything does not go right all the time. You are sitting writing an article and you might get upset too, but you don't -- nobody sees that. Unfortunately 20,000 people see my feelings out there, which I like. I like that. I like them to know when I am happy and when I am sad and I like them to know when I am upset, and I want them to know when I am, you know, I mean that is me, that is just my attitude and what I am on the inside I want them to know. I think they can relate to that because they know that everything doesn't go 100% right for them every time either. So that they can relate a little bit.

Q. Two more questions please,?

JIMMY CONNORS: Put pressure on them. Thanks everybody.

End of FastScripts....

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