In describing the headliner for this year's Chevy Chase Bank Tennis Challenge, Pam Shriver said yesterday, "What I've come to realize is that she's an extremely powerful draw."
That's why Shriver, the event's founder, is excited about Anna Kournikova coming back to Baltimore a year after she defeated Lindsay Davenport in the featured match.
The 19-year-old Russian with the biggest cult following in tennis has agreed to return to the charity event, which will be held again this year at Baltimore Arena on Nov. 21. The event is presented by The Sun.
The event has raised an estimated $2.4 million in its first 14 years.
Shriver, who returned yesterday to Baltimore after doing television work at this year's U.S. Open in New York, said she is close to completing a deal with Kournikova's opponent.
Among those Shriver has contacted are top-ranked Martina Hingis of Switzerland, Jennifer Capriati, Mary Pierce, Anke Huber of Germany and another Russian, 18-year-old Elena Dementieva, who lost to Davenport last week in the Open semifinals.
The problem that came up this year for Shriver, who has been host to the event since its inception in 1986, is that Federation Cup matches will played at the same time in Las Vegas.
The four-country tournament includes the United States, which will have both Venus and Serena Williams, as well as Davenport, on its team.
Shriver said there will also be a mixed-doubles "Legends" match that will feature 1993 French Open champions Luke and Murphy Jensen, along with Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, whose serve was the fastest in women's tennis before it was eclipsed by Venus Williams'.
The fourth player in the mixed doubles could be Shriver, who because of shoulder problems has not played in more than a year.
Shriver said she is talking with a number of others, including former top 10 player Kathy Rinaldi, about coming to the event if she is unable to compete.
One of the most popular portions of the evening will feature a celebrity doubles match involving the two top women's players and members of the Orioles.
Brady Anderson has committed for a sixth straight year. Shriver is uncertain who the other Oriole would be.
"Brady's been very successful. I think he's undefeated," Shriver said, speaking of Anderson's record at the arena rather than at Camden Yards.