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Beyond the Baseline

Jimmy Connors dishes on relationship with Chris Evert in new memoir

Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert broke off their engagement in 1974. (Brian Smith/AP)

Jimmy Connors’ autobiography, The Outsider, comes out in two weeks. Some details are beginning to leak, including an excerpt about his relationship with Chris Evert.

In the chapter on Connors’ high-profile romance, engagement and breakup with Evert, The New York Daily News reports that Connors “strongly hints” Evert was pregnant and had an abortion shortly before they were to wed, in 1974. Judge for yourself.

“An issue had arisen as a result of youthful passion and a decision had to be made as a couple,” Connors writes in “The Outsider.”

Connor said he wanted to “let nature take its course” and accept responsibility “for what was to come.” But the then-19-year-old Evert, who was raised in a devout Roman Catholic home, made a different call.

“Chrissie ... made up her mind that the timing was bad and too much was riding on her future,” wrote Connors.

Connors, who had been staying in a Los Angeles apartment with his pal, fellow short-fused legend Ilie Nastase, was perturbed that Evert decided the matter for the both of them.

“Well, thanks for letting me know,” Connors claims he told Evert. “Since I don’t have any say in the matter, then I guess I’m just here to help.”

...

But Connors, who was barely 22 at the time, had been harboring deep misgivings about getting married. And that phone call from Evert shook him badly.

Connors said he suggested to Evert they “take a step back and think about giving this a little more time.”

Evert was apparently thinking the same thing.

“O.K., if that’s what you think,” she replied coldly, Connors recounted. “I’ve got a match tomorrow. Not a problem.”

And that, Connors claims, “was it.”

The book is scheduled to be released on May 14. According to publisher HarperCollins, the topics he touches on include "setting the record straight about his formidable mother, Gloria; his very public romance with America's sweetheart Chris Evert; his famous opponents, including Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Ivan Lendl, and Rod Laver; his irrepressible co-conspirators Ilie Nastase and Vitas Gerulaitis; and his young nemesis Andre Agassi. Connors reveals how his issues with obsessive-compulsive disorder, dyslexia, gambling, and women at various times threatened to derail his career and his long-lasting marriage to Playboy Playmate Patti McGuire."

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