Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl were both seen as two of the most ferocious ball-strikers in tennis history. Their shots were hit so hard, some said they could draw blood….and they once literally did….at the expense of a 10-year-old.
As documented in my book “On This Day In Tennis History” (For sale and download here https://a.co/d/bYUTID4 via Amazon) it was on February 22, 1981 when the following happened….
“In a match described by the Los Angeles Times as a “match where the tension in the air was so thick, you could cut it with a knife,” Jimmy Connors defeats Ivan Lendl 6-3, 7-6 to win the ATP singles title in LaQuinta, Calif. The second set starts off in bizarre fashion as a wide serve by Lendl in the first game strikes a 10-year-old in the nose and Connors rushes to the sidelines to grab ice and a towel to aid the young fan, who is not seriously injured outside of a bloody nose. Lendl rolls to a 4-0 lead in the second set, but Connors surges back to finish off the final in straight sets. Says Connors, “In the second set, I got frustrated because I don’t like to play catch up. I want to win the first set and stomp ‘em in the second set.”
You can watch highlights of some of this match here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HdZ4OpTj5Q