NASHVILLE – Jimmy Connors will be making his 2014 debut in the PowerShares Series in Nashville, TN on Wednesday, March 12th. Connors last played the PowerShares Series in 2012. For the stop in Nashville, Connors will be joined by Pat Cash, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl. To get ready for the event, PowerShares held a conference call with Connors and the media on Friday, March 7th. Connors did play some of his junior tennis in the Nashville and Memphis area, but he has never played a professional or exhibition match in Nashville.
When asked about his current form heading into the event, Connors said, “The first thing I try to do is keep it inside the lines, keep the ball in play, try to have the same strokes and the same work ethic that I always did, even though it’s not quite as long as the old days. I still get the same pleasure going out and working for whatever I do, 45 minutes or an hour, getting a good sweat, putting forth that kind of effort as I did 30, 40 years ago.”
Connors said PowerShares gives the fans a chance to revisit the glory days of their tennis fandom and shows the club player a brand of tennis that is attainable for their own games. “To watch a Nastase, a McEnroe, Borg, even leading up to the Sampras, Courier, and Andy now, to see guys like that play, the kind of tennis they play, they feel they still can muster up that kind of energy to hit a shot like that once in a while, go back and say, Geez, I saw Borg or whoever hit that shot one time, and look at me, I can do that.”
Connors also fielded a question about the current intense rivalries of yesteryear compared to the cordial nature of the current men’s game. “It would be very hard to believe that if Mack ever beat me in the finals of a major event that he’d come over and give me a hug. I just don’t see that happening.”
Last year, Connors was let go of his coaching duties with Maria Sharapova after 1 match. He also worked with Andy Roddick in the past. When asked if he would ever consider coaching again he responded with a humorous “no” and then explained “I say that laughingly. I shouldn’t say that so quickly. I would prefer to get a young kid that’s eager and willing to listen, has had no success. That would be the ultimate, I guess. As much as I enjoyed being with Andy, traveling around, he was a major champion. When you hit that height ‑ Maria also ‑ things change, things are different, attitudes are different. As much as you want it, it’s still a different way of thinking. So for me to say it, I would rather find somebody young that’s moldable would probably be the best way to say it.”
Connors concluded the call with some thoughts about Nashville native and oft-sidelined ATP pro player Brian Baker, “But to stick to it like he did, to want to go through all that, still want to go out and play, man, oh, man, I’d like to find a 14‑year‑old about like that, that’s willing to do all that, and also listens. Boy, oh, boy, that would be something. I hope he finds nothing but success in anything he does. He’s not going to walk away from any fight, no matter what. That’s pretty special there.”