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Jimmy Connors:
A Biographer’s Quest

Joel Drucker

Printable Version

What was the real meaning of my quest to understand Jimmy Connors?

The night at the 1990 U.S. Open when Jimmy Connors requested I write a proposal to become his ghostwriter, I asked him what autobiographies he liked. He confessed he had not finished a book in 20 years. If Connors trusted me enough to reveal such long term disengagement with the world of thought, surely we could make a great team.

That proposal was the tunnel I was digging in hopes of escaping my career in public relations. Arriving at my office at 7:30 in the morning and squeezing in time at lunch and through the day, I wrote a 60-page document and overnighted it to his house. He told me he was glad to receive it.

Often when my phone rang, I imagined it was Connors telling me the proposal was great and that a publisher was set to give me $200,000 to start on his autobiography. But there was no actual response and then weeks turned into months.

My boss, having read the World Tennis story on Connors I'd written several months earlier, wondered why it sounded so differently from what I wrote for clients. I told her it was a matter of angles, omitting to say how little I cared about our various clients' products and services.

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Joel Drucker is one of the world's best known tennis writers, having written for years for Tennis and many other publications. He is a consultant and background researcher working with some of the top commentators for the Tennis Channel. Joel is also the author of the book "Jimmy Connors Saved My Life." He lives in Oakland, California and plays regularly at the Berkeley Tennis Club.

"Jimmy Connors Saved My Life"

"Jimmy Connors Saved My Life" is a unique account of the career of the legendary American champion, James Scott Connors, and how it intertwined with the life of the author in a relationship both real and imagined. The book combines the perspective of an intellectual, a devoted tennis player, a professional writer, and a student of society searching for meaning and identity in a defining period of American history, a period in which tennis became a big time, big money, and big media sport.

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