(March 8, 2013) -- Former World No. 1 and the ATP's all-time win and title leader Jimmy Connors stopped by the Tennis Channel interview booth for a segment with Justin Gimelstob on Friday.
Connors, who had a second hip surgery in September, is getting better everyday and plans to step on the tennis court in the not-too-distant future.
In the meantime, he's getting ready to tour behind his new autobiography "The Outsider," which is available for pre-order now and is due out this spring.
Like the rest of us, Connors is impressed with the evolution of Indian Wells from a small start-up tournament to the World-Class event that it is now. "It's what we got in the game for, really," Said Connors. "We were playing out in trailers back in that day. This is an exception. The way this has grown. This has become more than a tennis tournament -- it's a tennis destination.
"People work their vacations around coming out here... Tennis used to be the only show, now they have restaurants, you can go hit balls, you can try racquets, you can do everything and anything here. Especially here on this site, you have so much room to get around and to maneuver, so you're not really packed in, and I think they enjoy it even more."
Connors had a lot to say about the men's game, too.
He was cautiously optimistic about Rafael Nadal, saying "I don't think he would come back and play unless he was ready. He's not that kind of kid."
Connors, an eight-time Grand Slam winner who amassed 109 career titles during his career, doesn't deny his affinity for Rafa's all-in mindset on the court. "It's just all about his health now,” he said. “He puts a lot of strain on his body the way he plays, and the effort that he gives... I like that, he's my kind of kid because of that, but on the other hand, it does take its toll and unfortunately for him it's taken it at a young age."
Connors went on to say that World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the man to beat right now, and he still thinks that Andy Murray has more to prove despite his breakthrough at the U.S. Open in 2012.
"I don't think Murray's quite there yet,” said Connors. “He won the U.S. Open -- sure he did -- then he gets to the final of Australia and says it was too much of an effort to win two Grand Slams in a row. It kind of flustered me a little bit. It makes me wonder if being No. 1 is something that he can handle or is he very satisfied being three or four?"
A three-time champion at Indian Wells, including the tournament's inaugural event in 1976 in Palm Springs, Connors thinks that Murray needs to do everything in his power if he plans to consistently compete with Novak Djokovic for Grand Slam titles. "He's [Djokovic's] the top now. He's the guy everybody is aiming for. For Murray to get in there he needs to win another Grand Slam in my opinion, to show to himself and everybody that winning the Open wasn't a fluke, and I don't think it was because he did manage to be quite versatile to win that tournament because of the weather and the wind, but he needs to get out there and do it again to kind of get over that one-time jitter and to reach the potential that I think he's capable of reaching."