For five straight years, Jimmy Connors was ranked #1 in the world between 1974 and 1978 and won the US Open five times. He was the first high-profile tennis player to use a metal racket (Wilson T-2000), and along with Bjorn Borg made the two-handed backhand shot a part of the game.
He also suffered some embarrassment when his mother was threatened with ejection from the Wimbledon championships because of her habit of encouraging him loudly from the crowd. He won the Wimbledon men's singles title twice, in 1974 and 1982. After his first Wimbledon victory, he refused to accept the commemorative medal symbolic of the championship. But with time, Connors mellowed and became a crowd favorite. After his second Wimbledon win, he graciously accepted the medal and won over many British fans who previously had booed him repeatedly.
Perhaps the defining moment of his career was the 1991 US Open. Connors, who celebrated his 39th birthday during the tournament, only made the event as a wild-card entry, but made an improbable run through the Open, losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Stefan Edberg.