Geno Takes On John McEnroe at CT Open

Auriemma, who played tennis in college, was roped into the event after expressing an interest in attending the Friday night matches. He borrowed a racket from UConn director of tennis Glenn Marshall, who hit balls with him a few times this summer.

Of course, Auriemma left New Haven with one of McEnroe's rackets. When there was a delay to repair the net during his match with Courier on Stadium Court, McEnroe grabbed the microphone and auctioned off his racket. He wound up giving away two rackets for $3,500 each — one of the two bids came from Auriemma and his wife, Kathy — with proceeds going to the Smilow Cancer Hospital.

McEnroe joked that Auriemma needed the racket to improve his serve. Really, his serve wasn't bad for a guy who had not played competitive tennis in about 30 years. He taught tennis at UConn during his first four years at the school, but that was a lifetime ago.

Auriemma had never met McEnroe, although he saw him play in Philadelphia in the late 1970s. In those days, Auriemma was playing a lot of tennis and was a fan of the sport.

He became a fan of McEnroe, but never had another opportunity to see him play in person. This was even better — staring across the net from him.

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