Jimmy Connors' juicy memoir | EW.com

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Jimmy Connors' juicy memoir

Before John McEnroe and Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors was the brash, back-talking bad boy of American tennis. Now, in his new memoir, ''The Outsider,'' he spills some surprising secrets about his life on and off the court.

HOLLYWOOD SMASH

Early in his career, while training in Beverly Hills, Connors and his pals would earn extra cash — $20 a set — by playing with Hollywood heavyweights like Godfather producer Robert Evans. They didn’t take it easy on him, either. ”He was pretty annoyed by the aggressive tactics and started complaining….”

COME ON AND SERVE ALREADY!

During his Grand Slam-winning tennis career, Connors battled obsessive-compulsive disorder. His OCD was so bad he often had to bounce the ball 30 times before serving. ”Believe me, I’m not trying to throw off my opponent’s game with all the bouncing, although that might be a fortunate side effect.”

LOVE MATCH

At 20, Connors began dating Chris Evert, 18. But their schedules and a vaguely worded ”issue” (some have suggested an abortion) doomed the romance: ”An issue had arisen as a result of youthful passion and a decision had to be made….” Evert, in a statement to Reuters, calls the book a misrepresentation.

HITTING A SOUR NOTE

In 1975, Connors recorded a song written by Paul Anka. ”I went into the studio and laid down the tracks: ‘Girl, You Turn Me On,’ which, it seemed to me, Paul had written in 30 seconds, and ‘Guitar Man.’ I was convinced I would be number one on Billboard in no time.” He wasn’t.

I’D LIKE TO BUY A VOWEL

In the late ’80s, when Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sajak debated renewing his contract, creator Merv Griffin asked Connors to audition. ”I think I did pretty good for an amateur,” he says. When Sajak renewed, ”plans for his daytime replacement were being put on hold. And so, I guess, was my TV stardom.”