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Jimmy Connors Names ‘Sweetest’ Win of His Career Which Came Out of Revenge

Advait Jajodia

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There was a time when American legend Jimmy Connors struggled to win or even reach the finals of a Grand Slam for almost four years, which was precisely after his 1978 US Open win. By the early 1980s, critics believed that Connors was past his prime and wouldn’t be the great player that he once was. However, by defeating arch-nemesis John McEnroe in the 1982 Wimbledon final, Connors silenced the naysayers and had a career renaissance of sorts. He spoke about the same in the latest episode of Advantage Connors.

Brett Connors asked his father Jimmy about the ‘sweetest’ victory he had across an illustrious 24-year career. At first, the American selected a match from when he was 17 years of age. Later, the former World No.1 shed light on the 1982 Wimbledon finals clash against John McEnroe. Jimmy Connors was quoted as saying:

“My sweetest was winning the ’82 Wimbledon… Even though I was winning 5-6 tournaments a year I was written off. Coming back and winning Wimbledon after being written off… and beating Mac (John McEnroe) in the finals of Wimbledon on his best surface which was grass and he was the #1 player in the world… That was probably my sweetest victory to reestablish myself as a contender.”

As mentioned by the ‘Brash Basher of Belleville’, the Wimbledon 1982 win helped re-establish him as one of the best players on the ATP Tour. Over the followng two years, Connors made it to 3 more Grand Slam finals, emerging victorious on 2 occasions.

The win must’ve been ‘sweet’ owing to his long-time rivalry with McEnroe. Entering the 1982 Wimbledon finals encounter, Connors was leading 10-8 in their head-to-head record. However, it was McEnroe – for his exceptional form, being the World No.1, and being regarded as the best play on grass especially – who was dubbed as the favorite to win.

Despite having little to no support, Connors put up an incredible performance. In the all-American final, the Illinois native pulled off an iconic 3–6, 6–3, 6–7(2–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–4 win and got his revenge.

Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe got into a heated on-court altercation at the start of 1982

Starting from 1977, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe faced off against each other 34 times. Initially, Connors was the one dominating the rivalry, winning 6 of their first 7 battles. Things got more interesting when McEnroe gathered more experience. Between May 1979 – June 1982, McEnroe won 7 out of 10 encounters.

The rivalry got heated up during their infamous duel at the Michelob Light Challenge in Chicago. At one point in the finals of the exhibition tournament, Connors was annoyed by McEnroe’s extended time in between points. The situation was heated enough for Connors to step across the net and almost trade punches with his rival.

After that fiery match, Connors was quoted as saying in an interview with The New York Times (via Tennis Majors) while comparing himself to McEnroe:

‘I think we both have the same attitudes. He’s aggressive, I’m aggressive. We both stick up for our rights. But I stick up for my rights in a different way. If I feel like I’m in the right, I’ll step up. I want some respect, not sloughing off. But there are certain limits.”

Hence, it must’ve been even more satisfying for Jimmy Connors to defeat John McEnroe at a Grand Slam final merely 6 months later.

Post Edited By:Dhruv Rupani

About the author

Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia


Advait Jajodia, a seasoned NBA journalist, has had a passion for the game for over a decade. His journey from admiring Kobe Bryant's precision to being in awe of Stephen Curry's long-range mastery instilled a profound understanding of basketball. With a background as a two-time National-level player, Advait uses his experience on the hardwood to offer insightful analysis. Over three years of dedicated sports journalism has equipped the 21-year-old with a unique perspective, reflected in his prolific portfolio of 3,700+ articles.

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