Tracy Austin shares strong views on Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Nick Kyrgios

(Photo by Mike McGregor/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
(Photo by Mike McGregor/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald) /

Former WTA number 1 and two-time Grand Slam winner Tracy Austin has a right to speak her mind about tennis however she wants. She’s earned that right, in fact. Plus, she knows firsthand what was going on with the ATP tour during the time she was playing in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

So when she speaks about Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe the inside information she has is her own. And as a former Grand Slam champion, she has a right to speak her views on recent comments made by Nick Kyrgios. She’s lived it all.

As far as the Nick Kyrgios part, Austin said in response to Kyrgios saying he can’t see himself playing until he is 33 years old (Kyrgios is currently 28 years old), “I kind of find it sad you’re playing a professional sport and you just don’t absolutely love it. You don’t drink it up. You want to feel like you’re lucky to be out there.”

Tracy Austin talks John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Nick Kyrgios

First of all, having enough skills to be a professional athlete is pretty much a lucky thing. One is either born with the attributes to make you better than most other humans or they aren’t. Now, whether that person takes that genetic material, outworks those born with the same traits, and has the mental excellence to defeat others becomes a choice.

Nick Kyrgios even says that he hasn’t always had the drive to be great previously. Yet, he responded to Tracy Austin with a bit of vitriol. Kyrgios tweeted he “worked and put (himself) in that position” to be able to play tour-level tennis. He’s not completely correct. How many of us would love to be born with the skill to play tennis professionally? And then ask the greats like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic how hard they worked to be as good as they become versus Kyrgios who says “partying” made him feel older than he really is.

When it comes to Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, Tracy Austin says their rivalry went well beyond the tennis court. (Also, for the record, McEnroe led the all-time head-to-head versus Connors 20-14.) Austin inferred in her interview with the Daily Express that while Connors was easily agitated as a player (still is, most likely), he didn’t appreciate McEnroe’s feeling OK about using abusive language on the court.

McEnroe also seems to be lucky enough to have gotten commentating gigs during big tournaments, like Wimbledon. Maybe Connors is just jealous? Still, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe both had a way of making tennis very popular and we need more of that now.

Next. Jimmy Connors has strong thoughts on Federer, Nadal, and Jabeur. dark