In a recent episode of his podcast, “Advantage Connors,” tennis legend Jimmy Connors shared his remarkable experience as a “floater” in the 1991 US Open.
Drawing on his own journey, Connors highlighted why being unseeded could be advantageous for Andy Murray at Wimbledon. The former world No. 1, known for his relentless fighting spirit, offered insights into the unique opportunities and challenges that come with being an underdog in a major tournament.
Jimmy Connors, a former world No. 1 tennis player, embarked on a captivating journey during the 1991 US Open that left an indelible mark on the sport.
Despite being ranked No. 174 in the world and considered a “living legend” at the age of 38, Connors displayed an unwavering determination to defy the odds.
Connors reflects on his own experience and offers Murray advice
During his podcast, Connors vividly recounted his remarkable run at the US Open, starting with a thrilling comeback against Patrick McEnroe in the first round.
“I’ve got nothing to lose I just came off a year away from tennis and have a reconstructed wrist and trying to get back to play … and now I’m playing in my favorite spot with 20,000 people” Connors shared.
He emphasized the joy and freedom he felt as a dangerous floater, stating, “Throw me in there, I’m under no pressure it’s the guys that are playing me they’re going to be under the pressure.”
Connors’ journey reached its pinnacle during a quarterfinal match against Aaron Krickstein, coinciding with his 39th birthday and Labor Day.
Connors recalled the electrifying atmosphere, saying, “The crowd was going to be ridin’ me to hopefully not play one match but a few matches and try to get me through.”
He drew immense inspiration from the crowd, turning a 5-2 deficit in the deciding set into a stunning victory. Connors reflected on his experience, stating, “I like that, you know, throw me in the draw. I’ve got nothing to lose.”
Based on his own experience, Connors offered valuable advice to Andy Murray, suggesting that embracing the role of an unseeded player may be advantageous.
“Unless he’s looking at Wimbledon as the ending that might be enough for him, or that’s the way I kind of looked at the US Open that year… I went into the US Open better liking being a dangerous floater,” Connors explained.
He encouraged Murray to view Wimbledon as an opportunity to play with renewed passion and a sense of fearlessness, just as he did during his memorable run.
Connors’ unforgettable run at the 1991 US Open
Jimmy Connors entered the 1991 US Open ranked No. 174 in the world, well past what is considered a player’s prime.
After a year away from tennis due to a wrist injury and surgery, the 38-year-old legend had no business competing at the highest level. However, he defied all odds and embarked on a remarkable journey that captivated fans around the world.
Connors’ campaign kicked off with a dramatic first-round match against Patrick McEnroe. Despite being two sets down and trailing 3-0 in the third set, Connors refused to back down.
Through sheer determination and gutsy play, he mounted an extraordinary comeback, ultimately defeating McEnroe in five grueling sets that lasted over four hours, as reported by Tennis.com
In a pivotal match on his 39th birthday, Connors faced Aaron Krickstein, a top-10 player. Despite trailing by two sets, Connors rallied back, overcoming a 5-2 deficit in the fifth set and clinching victory in a thrilling tiebreaker.
His thrilling journey finally ended in the semi-finals.