There’s always been one thing very clear about Jimmy Connors: He doesn’t care what other people think and he isn’t afraid about what he says upsetting people. And to be fair, Connors sometimes verbally hands out hard truths to those who need to hear them. This is one reason his podcast, Advantage Connors, is so much fun.
But on his most recent episode, he takes arguments up a notch. For starters, Connors, an 8-time Grand Slam winner, says that when Ons Jabeur gets to Grand Slam finals, “she stalls.” The word “stall” could be taken a lot of different ways, including the implication that Jabeur “chokes” in the big matches. If I were to parse Connors’ words, I think he means more than Jabeur gets stuck in her own head that can’t win. Yet.
Jabeur has been open about the mental stress that tennis in general, but final matches in particular, can be at times difficult to overcome. Jabeur has been able to make it to three Grand Slam finals out of the last six but hasn’t yet won one. Connors, though, still thinks Jabeur will earn a major in the future, saying, “She’s going to break through and do some damage…I’m rooting for her.”
Jimmy Connors shares some hot takes (what else would you expect?)
And Jimmy Connors is also rooting for Novak Djokovic, it seems. In fact, Connors thinks Djokovic is at the very least the greatest player of his era. When speaking about Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Connors said, “It comes to a point where a lot of people think (Djokovic has) had enough. Look at all the people that were on the Federer bandwagon and the Nadal bandwagon as the greatest of all time. They’re not even the greatest of all time in their own era (Djokovic is).”
It is difficult to argue with Jimmy Connors’ logic. Djokovic has spent far more weeks atop the ATP rankings than any other player. He also has 23 Grand Slams, one more than Nadal.
Maybe Carlos Alcaraz grinds long enough to pass Djokovic in weeks at number one and will get more Grand Slams. But Alcaraz has two major titles now. If he were to win the US Open and then every major title for the next five straight years, he would still only tie Djokovic. If Alcaraz spent almost the next seven straight years and number 1 on the tour, he would tie Djokovic.
But Jimmy Connors thinks Djokovic still has a bit left in the proverbial tank. Per Connors, “They think…it’s time for somebody else to come up. I look at it the other way, I say ‘Kill it.’ Stay out there and play until somebody just comes up and beats your brains out because you always got a chance to win.” And Connors is very likely correct.