Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The sports page, again

Let's follow up on a theme we looked into a couple of months ago, only we'll shift from basketball to tennis.

Yes, tennis, the sport of white shorts, hushed crowds, and impeccable sportsmanship.

Wait, did I say sportsmanship? Well, I admit that that was a very long time ago, and before John McEnroe established his apparent lifetime lock on the title Biggest Asshole in Tennis, he had an important predecessor: Jimmy Connors.

Last week's release of Connors's autobiography should put to rest any question of whether his abominable behavior on the court was the result of an excess of competitiveness, a desire to put on a show for the fans, or just another example of a depraved character.

In the early 1970's the tennis world was dominated by two young Americans, Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert, who were not only linked in the public eye on the court, but were also together romantically off the court. It didn't last, but it was not until the memoir that we learn the details. Suffice it to say, the details do not look good for Connors.

As reported by The Atlantic, here's what he says about Evert:

“But now, 35 years later, Connors is releasing a biography this week titled The Outsider, in which he strongly hints that during their whirlwind affair in 1974, Evert got pregnant and had an abortion. He says that she did so without allowing him to be part of the decision-making, though he states that he ‘was perfectly happy to let nature take its course and accept responsibility for what was to come.’ He bitterly writes to Evert in the book, ‘Well, thanks for letting me know. Since I don't have a say in the matter, I guess I am just here to help.’”

What is there to say about this? That Chris Evert's decision was hers to make, not his. That the fact, and the decision to make it public, was hers and not his. Most of all, though, that his choice to make this public, and his attitude, that the choice was all about him, tells us all we need to know about his egocentric, entitled world view.

In the Biggest Asshole in Tennis competition, that is game, set, and match for Connors.

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