Born in September 2, 1952, James Scott Connors was the World’s top American tennis player in the mid 70’s. He earned the singles Grand Slam titles at least eight times and double titles with Ilie Năstase at the U.S. Open.
Hailing from East St., Illinois, Jimmy or Jimbo, started his international career when he won an international tournament, as an amateur player, in Jackson, Florida. He eventually gained world recognition in 1970 when he defeated Roy Emerson at the Pacific Southwest Open in Los Angeles. A year after, Connors earned the NCAA singles title while enrolled at the University of the California, Los Angeles.
James secured a reputation as maverick because he refused to become a member of the Association of Tennis Professionals. It was not his call to join the elite group of players who tend to overpower small scale tournaments. Connors was allegedly restricted to freely take part in tennis games. He was banned to join the French Open in 1974 after the contract signing with the World Team Tennis.
Despite the issues, Connors won the Australian Open to Phil Dent. He also won the title at the French Open and Wimbledon to Ken Rosewall. But since he was excluded from the French Open, it limited Connors to gain a career as Grand Slam winner in one year after Rod Laver. But Jimmy did top the list in 1974 as the World’s No. 1 tennis player consistently holding the title for several weeks. In 1975, Connors earned the runner-up title in the three Grand Slam singles.