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Chris Chase

Game Point: McEnroe and Connors make return to U.S. Open

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Game Point is Busted Racquet's daily roundup of the facts, figures and links from the 2009 U.S. Open.

Is it too cliché to say that you cannot be serious?

A quarter-century after their last match at the U.S. Open, former rivals John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors were back on the court together in New York City for an impromptu hitting session at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Even better, they played using the old school wooden racquets.

It was an unexpected treat for the few fans who were able to witness just the second hitting session for the one-time bad boys in the last few years.

The usual crowd of about 200 fans that gathers near the exit of the practice courts, looking for players and autographs, started buzzing when it became clear there was something more than routine going on out there.

Indeed, this was a rare treat. McEnroe said it was only the second time they had hit in the last several years. They were only hitting - no big competition going on here - but it was still a treat to hear McEnroe grunt when he uncoiled for that big serve, then see Connors scoot inside the line to return it with his patented two-handed backhand.

On ESPN later that day, McEnroe spoke of how much he enjoyed rallying with his old rival:

"Jimmy just hits the ball so clean it's unbelievable. It stirs some nice memories -- mostly good, but there's a couple ones that roughed me up a bit."

The two played against each other four times (all semifinals) at the U.S. Open. Connors won the first meeting in 1978 and McEnroe took the next three in 1979, 1980 and 1984. The winner went on to take the title in each of those years.

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