Shriver serves up Seles, Davenport

The format of the 17th Chevy Chase Bank Tennis Challenge on Dec. 10 at Baltimore Arena will remain unchanged. That means the evening’s program will begin with a legends match, be followed by the main singles event and conclude with the Orioles Challenge.
It is the Orioles Challenge that may require fans to suspend their take on reality for a little while.

Yesterday, tournament personnel presided over the official announcement that Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles, two former World No. 1s and current Top 10 players, will compose the feature match of the evening.

Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Davis Cup team coach, former ATP Tour player and current television analyst, also has agreed to anchor the Legends of Tennis segment. His fellow competitors will be named soon.

But it was the Orioles Challenge, which is designed to team Orioles players with Davenport and Seles, that will be a little different this year, while staying very much the same.

Brady Anderson, who has been a mainstay in the event for the past seven years, will return for an eighth time, despite no longer being an Oriole. Anderson, who was with the Orioles from 1988 through 2001, is out of baseball after being released by the Cleveland Indians earlier this year.

“But he promised not to wear an Indians uniform,” said retired women’s pro Elise Burgin, who emceed yesterday’s news conference in the absence of the tournament’s creator, Hall of Fame player Pam Shriver.

Shriver was home in California, where she is under doctor’s orders not to travel for several weeks after a minor medical procedure. She did take part, however, via phone.

A year ago, Anderson had finished his last season with the Orioles when he teamed with Andre Agassi to keep his winning record in the event perfect. At the time, Shriver said: “There will always be a place for Brady in this tournament.”

Still, Shriver said she was a little surprised he wanted to do it this year.

“We thought he’d just say, ‘Nah,’ ” she said. “But he’s been around Baltimore a bit in the offseason and said he wanted to come back to defend his title.”

Shriver acknowledged something of an ulterior motive in getting McEnroe to come to the Arena. She noted his Davis Cup connection and that he has a lot of input as to where the U.S. matches are scheduled.

“We feel the Arena is a good place for tennis,” Shriver said. “It’s a chance for him to look at the Arena, when it’s full of people, as an indoor site. You never know what may come of that.”

The appearance here of Davenport, Seles and McEnroe continues the trend of stars Shriver has paraded through Baltimore, as she has dedicated her time and this tournament to raising more than $3 million for children’s charities.

“Isn’t it amazing?” Burgin said. “The first year of Pam’s charity event was 1986. She was 24 years old, and even then she had the clout and foresight to put it together, bring the best players in the world to Baltimore and make it a success.”