SI Vault
 
Prince Valiant
Curry Kirkpatrick
June 10, 1991
After nearly two years of ignoble tennis, Jimmy Connors at 38 made a gallant stand in Paris
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
June 10, 1991

Prince Valiant

After nearly two years of ignoble tennis, Jimmy Connors at 38 made a gallant stand in Paris

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4

"He must get his energy from his guts, or somewhere," Chang would later say. "I didn't really care if Jimmy was injured. He was still hitting great shots—flat, sliced, lots of penetration. He kept coming at me. I couldn't consider his age. The guy is Jimmy Connors. We all know how he is, because of who he is." From the mouth of a babe—and such a tribute.

When Chang broke serve to make the score 4-4 in the fourth set, the weary veteran looked for all the world to be finished. Mais non. Encore! Moving just so—setting up, taking aim—Connors fired four withering blasts in the next game to break back at love. He paused to bask in the acclaim, saluted the crowd and then limped to the changeover. A few minutes later, after he had served out the set, all of France seemed to envelop Connors with praise and passion. Then, on the shakiest of legs, he hung on for that one final winning stroke before he approached umpire Bruno Rebeuh and bowed to the inevitable. "I can't move my back anymore. I'm trying my ass off out here," he told Rebeuh, who urged him to continue.

After undergoing an ice massage, stretching and getting an IV solution of sodium and potassium, Connors was able to dress himself, sit up and speak about the sorrowful joy of what had happened. "I've been run ragged, my back's stiff, and I feel like ——," he said. "But, boy, was it fun. To get a stadium rocking like that is a kick you can't believe."

Ah, Jheemee. Not unless it's anything close to the marvelous kick everybody in Paris got watching you.

1 2 3 4