LONDON -- Over the years, Jimmy Connors has made some less-than-gracious exits after losses -- especially at Wimbledon.
In 1976, after losing in the quarterfinals to Roscoe Tanner, he made a lightning-fast exit and almost closed the car door on a reporter's hand on the way out. In 1979, he was gone almost as fast after losing to Bjorn Borg. And, in 1983, after losing to Kevin Curren in the fourth round on Court 2, he was off the grounds exactly four minutes after shaking hands.
Today, however, he left in style. The fans waited for him outside the members' clubhouse and cheered him as he got into the blue Jaguar that was waiting for him. His wife Patti paused to kiss the policeman who guards the door there and fends off the fans. As the car slowly rolled toward the gate, Connors waved to the fans who pressed up against the window and smiled, enjoying himself.
"When I first came over here," Connors had said earlier, "I didn't have a great rapport with the people. We had a clash of attitudes. My attitude really didn't exist over here and there's didn't exist where I come from. But I think over the years we've had a nice meeting of the minds somewhere in the middle. I haven't given up mine and they haven't given up theirs, but now we appreciate each other."
Whatever the reason, Jimmy Connors left Wimbledon today in style.