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ATP Heritage: Jimmy Connors, 1974-78

On 23 August, ATP celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings. We continue our countdown with a look at Jimmy Connors, the 1974-78 year-end No. 1. #ATPHeritage

Jimmy Connors, an aggressive baseliner anchored by a double-fisted backhand, battled for nearly a decade to remain at the very top of the sport.

Connors was the third player in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings to become No. 1 on 29 July 1974, the year he won three major championships. Aged 21 years, 11 months, the Illinois native went on to hold the position for 160 consecutive weeks.

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Connors was forced to surrender the top ranking on nine occasions to Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl. "That's the great thing about being No. 1 – everybody's after you," said Connors.

He finished as the year-end No. 1 for five consecutive years starting in 1974 and continued to challenge for that honour until late 1983.

"I was prepared," said Connors. "I gave it everything I had, every time I walked out on the court. I was never unprepared, or willing to just let it go. I gave the fans their money's worth."

Connors was a force throughout his career, which included 109 singles titles. He captured eight majors in 15 finals and was the first man to rank World No. 1 for 200 weeks. 

He relinquished No. 1 for the final time, on 4 July 1983, after 268 weeks.

Read more about Connors in "No. 1", our special commemorative coffee table book, celebrating all year-end ATP World Tour No. 1s over the past 40 years. Buy Online Through Tennis Warehouse: Europe | Outside Europe

This year, the ATP pays special tribute to 25 former World No. 1s as part of the ATP Heritage programme, marking 40 years since the ranking system was introduced in 1973.

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