1. James Scott “Jimmy” Connors He held the top ranking for a then-record 160 consecutive weeks from July 29, 1974 to August 22, 1977 and an additional eight times during his career for a total of 268 weeks.
2. He also held a year-end top ten ranking for an Open Era record 16 years.
3. By virtue of his long and prolific career, Connors still holds three prominent Open Era singles records: 109 titles , 1532 matches played, and 1254 match wins.
4. His titles include eight majors , three year-end championships, and 17 Grand Prix Super Series.
5. In 1974 he became the second man in the Open Era to win three majors in a calendar year, and his total career match win rate of 81.9% remains in the top four of the era.
6. Connors was notorious for his fiery competitiveness, acrimonious relationships with a number of peers, and boorish behavior that pandered to the crowd.
7. For these reasons he has been likened to baseball player Pete Rose, a comparison Connors is proud of.
8. Connors grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.
9. In 1970, Connors recorded his first victory in the first round of the Pacific Southwest Open in Los Angeles, defeating Roy Emerson.
10. In 1971, Connors won the NCAA singles title as a Freshman while attending the University of California, Los Angeles, and attaining All-American status.
11. He turned professional in 1972 and won his first tournament, the Jacksonville Open.
12. Connors was acquiring a reputation as a maverick in 1972 when he refused to join the newly formed Association of Tennis Professionals , the union that was embraced by most male professional players, in order to play in and dominate a series of smaller tournaments organized by Bill Riordan, his manager.
13. However, Connors played in other tournaments and won the 1973 US Pro Singles, his first significant title, toppling Arthur Ashe in a five-set final, 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 3–6, 6–2.
14. Connors won eight Grand Slam singles championships: five US Opens, two Wimbledons, and one Australian Open.
15. He did not participate in the French Open during his peak years and only played in two Australian Opens in his entire career, winning it in 1974 and reaching the final in 1975.
16. He had a 99–4 record that year and won 15 tournaments, including three of the four Grand Slam singles titles.
17. The French Open did not allow Connors to participate due to his association with World Team Tennis . However, he won the Australian Open, defeating Phil Dent in four sets.
18. He also beat Ken Rosewall in straight sets in the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open.
19. His exclusion from the French Open denied him the opportunity to become the first male player since Rod Laver to win all four Major singles titles in a calendar year.
20. Connors reached the final of the US Open in five straight years from 1974 through 1978, winning three times with each win being on a different surface .