“We play, you serve like that, I take your firstborn son, no?”
Connors finds a good student
Zhou Zuyi, 2006-11-10, www.shanghaidaily.com
American tennis legend Jimmy Connors is keen to rediscover China 26 years after his first visit.
The 54-year-old, an eight-time grand slam winner, appeared at the suburban Qizhong Tennis Center in Shanghai yesterday with Andy Roddick, who he now coaches.
Roddick will compete in the Tennis Masters Cup next week.
Connors is the answer to a trivia question - he won the first professional tennis tournament held on the Chinese mainland at the Guangzhou Marlboro Masters in 1980. He beat Eliot Teltscher.
But the native of Illinois admitted his first trip to China was so short that he doesn't remember much.
“I just came and went, literally. Playing the tournament was the top priority for me back then so I don't have any particular memory of this country,” Connors said yesterday. “Therefore I would like to spend some time hanging around this time.”
Having said that, however, Connors was quick to point out his new priority.
“The most important thing used to be my victory, but now Andy is at the heart of the whole campaign,” said Connors, who joined world No. 5 Roddick this summer.
“We are personal friends in the first place and plus I like his attitude,” said Connors. “That’s why I decided to give my advice and see where it will take him.”
For his part, Roddick said the partnership is working out well. “Everyone keeps asking what is the best piece of advice or lesson I’ve learned from Jimmy,” Roddick said.
“I still can't explain it. But I'm learning so much, it’s really exciting.”
Connors was known for his determination and relentless style on court. Roddick too possesses that same warrior mentality where nothing short of victory is good enough.
Roddick won the US Open in 2003 and reached the final this year before losing to world No. 1 Roger Federer.
Connors certainly has the track record to help. He won five US Open titles, and is the only player to win this grand slam event on three different surfaces. Connors also won two Wimbledons and one Australian Open.