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Jimmy Connors

Became A Grand Slam Champion

Connors continued to win titles at a record pace. In only a year he reached the number one ranking in the United States, tying Stan Smith. In 1973 he also won the Wimbledon doubles title with Ilie Nastase. By 1974, only his second year as a professional, Connors was winning Grand Slam singles events. He began the year by winning the Australian Open, and he then went on to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, which was then a grass court at Forest Hills.

Chronology

1952 Born September 2 in East St. Louis, Illinois
1960 Plays in first U.S. Championship in the 11-and-under division
1970 Reaches U.S. Open quarterfinals with Pancho Gonzalez
1971 Begins college at the University of California at Los Angeles
1972 Drops out of college to play professional tennis full time
1973 Finishes year ranked number one (tied with Stan Smith)
1974 Wins 99 of 103 matches and 14 out of 20 tournaments
1974 Wins Australian Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open on grass court
1976 Wins U.S. Open singles title on clay court
1976 Ranked number one tennis player in U.S. and world
1978 Wins U.S. Open singles title on hard court
1978 Ranked number one tennis player in world
1978 First player to earn over two million dollars in career earnings
1978 Marries former Playboy Playmate-of-the-Year Patti McGuire
1980 Son Brett David is born
1982 Wins U.S. Open singles title on hard court
1983 Wins U.S. Open singles title on hard court
1985 Daughter Aubree Leigh is born
1991 Reaches U.S. Open semifinals at age 39
1992 Coauthors fitness book
1993 Begins Championship Tour for male tennis players over 35
1995 Reaches quarterfinals of ATP tournament in Halle, Germany
2001 Ranked 15 in Championship Tour

Connors had a shot at winning the Grand Slam in 1974 by capturing all four major titles. He only missed the French Open title because he was not allowed to play in that tournament. In 1972 the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) became the new union for most male professionals. Connors, however, chose to join the World Team Tennis (WTT) organization instead of the ATP. Because the ATP and the organizers of the French Open did not approve of the WTT, they did not allow WTT players to compete in the tournament that year. Connors and his manager, Bill Riordan, responded by filing a $10 million anti-trust lawsuit against the ATP and its president, Arthur Ashe, but the lawsuit was eventually dropped.

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