July 22, 2024

Open Court


Former doubles No. 1 Connell suffers stroke


Some concerning news from Vancouver for the Canadian tennis family and the tennis family at large.

Open Court has been told, confirmed by two sources, that former doubles No. 1 Grant Connell suffered a stroke while jogging Wednesday.

Connell is in intensive care at a Vancouver hospital.

We’ll update with further details as they become available.

The former all-American at Texas A&M, who is just 54, played 12 years on the ATP Tour and reached No. 1 in the doubles rankings in Nov. 1993.

All that despite only taking up the sport seriously as a teenager.

The lefthander also reached No. 67 in singles. He made the third round in singles at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Connell has wins in singles over Grand Slam champions Ivan Lendl, Jim Courier, Andres Gomez and Michael Stich on his resumé.

The Regina, Sask.-born Connell also represented Canada in Davis Cup for many years, and competed in the 1988 and 1996 Olympics.

In 1990 (with the help of Glenn Michibata in doubles) he singlehandedly helped Canada reach reach the World Group for the first time in the country’s history with a win over the Netherlands in Toronto.

He has the third-most ties played in Canadian history, behind Daniel Nestor and current Davis Cup captain Frank Dancevic.

When he retired from playing in 1997, Connell became the high-performance director at Tennis B.C. for a couple of years, and also Davis Cup captain from 2001-2003.


He was the Rogers Cup tournament director in Toronto in 2006, when Roger Federer won the singles and the Bryan brothers the doubles title.

Tournament director, real-estate mogul, family man

During his career, Connell reached 48 career doubles finals, and won 22 titles. After a long partnership with countryman Michibata, he teamed up with Patrick Galbraith (now the USTA president) and then with Byron Black of Zimbabwe.

He and Michibata reached the Wimbledon doubles final three times (1993 and 1994 with Galbraith, and 1996 with Black) and the Australian Open final in 1990 with Michibata.

All three times at Wimbledon, they couldn’t get past the legendary Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde. It was a very, very good era in doubles.

Notably, the Canadian also reached FIVE Wimbledon mixed doubles semifinals – four of them in consecutive years with partner Lindsay Davenport, and once in 1991 with current U.S. Fed cup captain Kathy Rinaldi.

Connell, then Rogers Cup tournament director, poses with doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan (and a couple of mounties)

With his wife Sarah, Connell has been as productive on the family front – a tougher and more rewarding job.

The couple has five children: Madison, Cooper, Charlotte and twins Bella and Katie, ranging in age from about 14 to 21.

Highly regarded and loved in the Canadian tennis community, Connell’s main post-career occupation has been as a successful real-estate agent in Vancouver

When we know more, we’ll update the story. Everyone is pulling for him to make a full, quick recovery. 

(Feature photo of Connell in Nov. 2011: copyright Phillip Jeffrey – www.fadetoplay.com.

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