Tennis Prose



Surreal Thrill: Borg Connors Talking Tennis Podcast

Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors conversation on Jimmy’s “Advantage Connors” podcast was a surreal thrill to listen to. Here are some of the highlights

Borg: Because of us they built the bigger stadiums and the big sponsors came in. The players of today come up to me and say thank you what you did to make tennis what it is today. I’m involved with Laver Cup, the players appreciate what we did for tennis.

Connors: I loved playing you because if I could lift my game we would have a battle.

Borg: To play Ilie was different. He was doing different things.

Borg: To beat you was very special for me.

Borg: Today you see one point you see the whole match. We were different.

Borg: One year we (Sweden) had four guys in the top ten.

Borg: Murray wants to play. He doesn’t want to be home with his wife and kids [smiles]…

Borg: Djokovic wants to break every single record.

Connors: Mental toughness. We were willing to do anything.

Borg: To me you should not have a coach, You should find the solution on the court. He has no idea what to do. You have to make the decision.

Connors: When you left, that broke my heart. We had something so special. I felt I was kinda out there on my own, though I had a lot of buddies, Eddie Dibbs, Vitas. When you left, I actually went home and asked, Is it time for me to go? I don’t think I ever told you that. I missed you.

Borg: We lifted tennis to a different level. We did so much for tennis… Off the court, I was concerned about security, every hotel 500 people. Always big crowds. I was worried about. I needed to step away from the tennis even though I loved it. 26 was very young. The decision I took, I was very happy doing that decision. I missed you, McEnroe, Vitas. That’s why I came back to tennis on the senior circuit.

Borg: My life as a tennis player, I was eating sleeping, breathing, practicing, playing tennis. I felt there had to be more to life to figure out. I had to experience more to life than just being on the center court. I wanted to try different other things in life. I was trying a lot of different things.

Connors: I remember the first senior tournament. I practiced with Lloyd, you came in and we sat at the table. That to me was the best ten years of my career. I say that for the fun factor.

Borg; We built it, I want to be a part of it. I like to stay at home. But I like to be a part of tennis too. Look at this tournament. Without you and me do you think this tournament (would be this fantastic)?

Connors: Will you tell the story about the picture we took together. It’s a funny story…

Borg: We took the picture together (in Indian Wells), we look so nice, My wife Patricia put it on Instagram and it got the response. Sure enough two hours later John McEnroe responded, What are you doing with Connors? Will you relax? He was like a jilted lover [laughter].

Borg: I never won the Open, I was very successful there. I was in the final four times. I liked the tournament. I bought a house on Long Island near Vitas in Sands Point. I did everything good for me to win the tournament. It’s an unbelievable tournament, atmosphere.

Borg: The grass courts at Wimbledon are even slower than the clay courts at Roland Garros. I think after Sampras won Wimbledon every year they decided they needed to change the surface so the fans can see rallies, to set up the point, rallies. Not ace, ace, ace, missed return.

Borg: the players are great today. I think if you see two or three games you see the whole match. Nothing wrong with that, that’s tennis today. I think a lot of players today don’t know how to change the style.

Borg: Jimmy I told you… I think he should spend more time with his wife… I love Andy, he’s still out there enjoying what he’s been doing for so long.

Connors: We’re going to have to go around the other way if we see Andy at a tournament [laughter].

Connors: Is there a way to teach that mental toughness, how to play the 30-40, 40-30 points, if you were to coach a player today?

Borg: I think it has to come naturally. You have to feel that on the court, you have to learn that playing matches, tournaments.

Connors: We wanted to play them (established stars) and move them aside.

Borg: I think we came at the perfect time. We started something that didn’t exist in tennis for so many years. We did really well. People loved us. People saw something new. Clothing. Fila came in 1974. It was more like music, rock stars.

Borg: I think some of the brands design clothes that look terrible. I won’t say names. Not Fila of course.


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