Shriver doubles fun in benefit

No. 1 Bryan team, Navratilova, Fish and Ginepri to appear

Tennis

October 05, 2006|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun reporter

Pam Shriver's Mercantile Tennis Challenge has always been about raising money to help children's charities in her hometown, and for Baltimore tennis fans, that has always translated into seeing the world's top singles players.

But on Dec. 6 at 1st Mariner Arena, Shriver is planning a different kind of tennis treat.

Yes, there will be a singles match, but the star attraction will be Bob and Mike Bryan, the No. 1 doubles team in the world.

"They're the team that rejuvenated men's doubles," Shriver said from her California home this week. "And it's a highlight for me to be able to bring them here and to bring Martina [Navratilova] right after her winning the mixed doubles title with Bob at the U.S. Open and right after she is finally done with competitive tennis."

Shriver has a soft spot for doubles. She partnered with Navratilova to become the most successful women's doubles team in history, highlighted by becoming the only women's doubles team to win the single-season Grand Slam, with victories at the Australian, French and U.S. opens and Wimbledon in 1984.

Joining the Bryans and Navratilova will be singles players Mardy Fish, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, and top American hopeful Robby Ginepri. Shriver said she is still working on a commitment from another female player for a mixed doubles match.

"I always check the schedules of [Andy] Roddick, [Andre] Agassi, [James] Blake and the Williams sisters to see if we can get on their schedules," Shriver said. "I check and recheck, but the Bryan boys were on my radar from the beginning. I thought it was time, or past time, that we should have them.

"And no kidding, we're at a time when American tennis is regrouping - men and women and particularly the men. And we're at a time when it's too hard to get the top players who are foreign, like [Roger] Federer and [Rafael] Nadal, who would have to come from outside the U.S. We have to look at every possibility and figure things out."

The tournament will benefit children's charities through the Baltimore Community Foundation. Over 20 years, the Challenge has raised more than $4 million.

Usually, Shriver has her lineup set shortly after the U.S. Open. But as her home life has gotten busier - Shriver is the mother of Georgie, a 2-year-old, and 1-year-old twins Kaitlin and Samuel - everything moves at a slower pace.

But she will be in town next month to encourage fans to come out for this doubles bonanza, and she'll be back for the event itself.

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

Event data

What -- Mercantile Tennis Challenge

When -- Dec. 6, 7 p.m.

Where -- 1st Mariner Arena Tickets -- $20 to $100, available at box office, Ticketmaster outlets, PhoneCharge (410-547-7328) or www.tennischallenge.org

Information -- 410-296-2929

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