Connors covers everything about his career and how he came to be the “outsider.” It’s easy to understand after you read about his upbringing in East St. Louis, Ill. He comes from the exact opposite of the country club set that tennis has always been associated with. There’s little wonder why Connors carried a chip on his shoulder throughout his career.
He also talks about his off-the-court antics and romances. He was once engaged to tennis great Chris Evert but both soon realized their personalities didn’t mesh. Not surprising for a superstar athlete he married a Playmate of the Year, Patti McGuire, but atypical to most celebrity marriages this one worked. They’re still together after 33 years.
Connors doesn’t shy away from his gambling problems or the many family issues he faced. He talks about the pain of overcoming his many injuries and the difficulty of facing life once he retired from the tour. If he has a soft side it’s with the many dogs he has owned over the years. They provided great therapy for him when he was really down.
You may or may not like Connors, but his memoir is an absolute delight. You not only get an insight into his life and how the sport evolved, but why he became and enjoyed being a rebel. He may have been obnoxious, but he was also entertaining. Tennis wouldn’t be where it is today without him.
David Kent is the director of the Village Library of Cooperstown. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.