Story of a Tennis Mom – Gloria Connors

James Bullis
By James Bullis on May 10, 2020
It was a warm day in East St. Louis, Illinois in 1952, the workgroups that were clearing land for new homes were addressed by a housewife from a nearby neighborhood who requested if she may borrow some of the tools they were using.

This lady was Gloria Connors. At that time Gloria Connors had one child, and another on the way. She needed the tools as she wanted to construct a tennis court on the backyard of her property. The story of a great tennis mom who would be remembered for ages, began that day.

After some time she gave birth to her second child and his name was Jimmy Connors. Gloria was a former tennis player who had played for the U.S. National Championship during the 1940s. She had previously defeated the young Olympian Babe Didrikson in a match and had a love for tennis.

When Jimmy became 2 years old, Gloria began his training. Jimmy was so little that Gloria needed to hold a large portion of his racket. After some time, they attempted a standard backhand a few times until he finally didn’t require additional reach.

Bertha Thompson was Gloria’s mother, she too was also an excellent tennis player and went out with them every day. Big Jim, Gloria’s husband handled the East St. Louis bridge, and Gloria managed the house and managed everything from shopping and cleaning clothes, to preparing food for the family and doing other household chores.

Gloria and Jimmy played each day. The training sessions were lively and she defeated him consistently. Gloria told him to attempt to strike the ball down her throat and eventually, he figured out how to since he discovered that if Gloria got the opportunity, she would not hesitate to strike it down his.

However, Jimmy was never forced excessively like the latest tennis wonder kids, who were sent to academies where their lives revolve around tennis as little kids. Gloria knew the consequences of pushing too hard and chose to shield him from burning out.

The family had to move out to Belleville, Illinois when Jimmy turned 13. With no indoor courts in the city, Gloria used to pick up Jimmy after school and drove him to the St. Louis armory where Jimmy could play against the best talents in that area. She stayed in the vehicle while he played on the court, and Gloria used to talk all about tennis while driving back home.

Gloria, Bertha, and Jimmy started going to tournaments together as Jimmy’s game progressed. At the age of 16, Jimmy finally won a game over Gloria. After five years, Jimmy started a line of 160 continuous weeks as the No. 1 tennis player on the planet. Those small games kick-started his career amongst the best in the world. He was positioned in the best 10 tennis players for 16 straight years.

Jimmy Connors is one of the best tennis players to ever live and has been taught all through his life by a woman, a mother so committed to the game that she ensured to train him basically from birth.

Go to your next tennis tournament!