Roddick top draw in Shriver Classic

Bryan brothers also coming in for Oct. 9 event

Tennis

August 22, 2007|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun reporter

Usually, broadcaster and Hall-of-Fame tennis player Pam Shriver is running around like crazy during the U.S. Open in New York, trying to nail down participants for her annual charity match in Baltimore later in the year.

But not this year. Shriver has already completed her guest list, which features world No. 5 singles player Andy Roddick and the world No. 1 doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan.

"It's fun the way it has all fallen into place," Shriver said from Los Angeles International Airport as she prepared to head east to Connecticut for this weekend's final tournament before next week's U.S. Open.

The Pam Shriver Tennis Challenge, as it was known through its first 21 years, is being renamed the Pam Shriver PNC Tennis Classic Presented by The Sun. PNC Bank took on a multi-year sponsorship after having bought Mercantile Bankshares, last year's sponsor.

The tournament will also have a new date, moving from the traditional November and December time frame to Oct. 9, to make it possible for Roddick to participate.

"It seemed like a good time to change the name," Shriver said. "The PNC people liked the idea of having a classic. We have enough challenges in the world, what we need is a few more classics."

Roddick has appeared here twice in two of the event's most successful nights, playing Andre Agassi in 2001 and James Blake in 2003. He will meet John Isner, the 6-foot-9 rookie who lost to Roddick in the finals of the Legg Mason Tournament in Washington that ended earlier this month. It was his first pro event.

"I don't know Isner, but people in the game think he is the real deal," Shriver said. "This is certainly going to be our biggest night of serving. I know people look at [Roger] Federer's forehand, but I think Andy's serve is the biggest shot in tennis."

The Bryans, who were the feature attraction a year ago, will face Roddick and his brother John, who was once one of the best college players in the country at Georgia and who - with Jimmy Connors - coaches his brother.

Tickets for the Classic, which will again be held at the 1st Mariner Arena, go on sale Monday through Ticketmaster. For information, call 410-296-2929 or go to PNCtennisclassic.org.

The event benefits area children's charities.

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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