"You are an abortion," Jimmy Connors says to a U.S. Open umpire in the video above, along about the 3:30 mark. "You are an abortion, do you know that?" The umpire nods gravely, almost as if to say, hmm, yes, it's possible.
If endearing enough, assholes aren't only tolerated in New York, they're celebrated. That's not to say what Connors did was gentlemanly, or right. But it was raw. And that's what makes the Open different. It's the only Grand Slam seemingly spared by the sport's cleaning crew. Ego and emotion aren't scrubbed away.
Connors said a whole host of other things to the ump over the course of the same match, among them: "Kiss me before you do that to me. ... You son of a bitch. ... Get out of the chair. ... You're a bum. ... Get your ass out of the chair." What's notable here is that a year ago in New York, Serena Williams famously threatened to feed a tennis ball to a U.S Open line judge. "I swear to God," she said, "I'm fuckin' going to take this fuckin' ball and shove it down your fuckin' throat, you hear that?" (Tennis players evidently love the interrogative mood.) Williams got tagged with a penalty — on match point, no less. And Connors? Connors, Sports Illustrated informs us, "was neither warned nor penalized." Whatta town!