Shriver bringing big names to Baltimore charity tournament


Pam Shriver obviously is a persuasive recruiter. For the seventh straight year, she is bringing some of the best players in women's tennis to Baltimore.

At a news conference today, she will announce that Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini and Mary Joe Fernandez will join her for the First National Bank Tennis Festival at the Baltimore Arena on Nov. 24.

This year, more than ever, area children will benefit. During the first four years of the tournament, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was the sole beneficiary. Then, two years ago, Cystic Fibrosis, Children's Hospital and the Greater Baltimore Tennis Patrons began sharing the profits.

Now, the Baltimore Community Foundation will distribute the funds among the eight children's charities it oversees. The event has raised nearly $1.1 million the past six years, including a high of $220,000 last year.

The format is four one-set singles matches and a one-set doubles match. The doubles teams will be Sabatini and Fernandez against the most successful Grand Slam doubles team in women's tennis history, Navratilova and Shriver.

During the four singles matches, fans will see Shriver against Fernandez, Navratilova vs. Sabatini, Shriver vs. Sabatini and Navratilova vs. Fernandez.

Navratilova, one of the game's greatest players, broke Chris Evert's record of 157 career singles titles in 1991, as well as Evert's record for singles wins at 1,909.

In 1991, Sabatini won her first Grand Slam event, the U.S. Open, and followed up with a semifinal appearance this month. Fernandez has made it to the final of the Australian Open and the semifinals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

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