September 25, 1992: Connors beats Navratilova in the "Battle of Champions"

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September 25, 1992: Connors beats Navratilova in the "Battle of Champions"

19 years after a famous "battle of sexes" match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs, 40-year-old Jimmy Connors played against another tennis legend, Martina Navratilova, in what has been known as the ”Battle of Champions!” The match was held on September 25, 1992, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and it gathered a big crowd of 13800 who wanted to see the winners of more than 260 ATP and WTA titles playing against each other.

They both received considerable fees just to play the match (probably $500,000) and the winner took additional $500,000, that being Connors, who overcame a slow start to celebrate by 7-5 6-2 in an hour and 28 minutes. The rules were made in favor of Martina, who had two regular serves against only one for Jimmy, and Navratilova had a wider return field, as the court on Jimm's side was increased for the half the width of each doubles alley.

BJK and Bobby Riggs were there for some colorful courtside commentary, and Bobby was also involved in a match in more ways than he probably should have been. Martina opened the match with a break, moving 3-1 in front before Jimmy started to climb back, but more on behalf of poor tennis from his rival than because of his good game, as he was out of shape completely.

Navratilova got broken again in game 12 after a double fault and she faded from the court in the rest of the match, making too many unforced errors in set number 2. After the match, Martina said that she didn't use the advantage of the wider field, thinking more about Jimmy than where the ball was.

Also, she admitted that he was hitting slower than Monika Seles or Steffi Graf usually would against her, but she couldn't turn that into her favor. She won just 7 points after striking the ball to that wider field and Jimmy missed only 5 first serves so that wasn't a disadvantage for him what so ever.

Jimmy had 21 winners against 16 from Martina and he made 10 unforced errors less than his opponent, enough to seal the deal in straight sets. Interestingly, in his book called “The Outsider,” Jimmy admitted that he had another big motive to beat Martina on that Friday night in Nevada, as he placed a huge $1 million bet on himself! In addition, to win the bet he had to celebrate in straight sets and also not to lose more than 8 games, which stood on shaky legs when Navratilova won 3 out of the opening 4 games.

Bobby Riggs, whom we mentioned earlier, did the same, and he apparently had a heart attack during the 5th game, and that his breathing slowly got back to normal only when he saw that Connors is on a winning way! ALSO READ: ATP ANALYSIS: 17-year-old Nadal stuns world No1. Federer in Miami 2004!