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tennisIlove09
Sep 14th, 2004, 09:32 PM
Sharapova To Headline Shriver's Tennis Challenge
http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/SharapovaAusOpenSIGGI.jpg
Photo By Siggi Bucher By Tennis Week
09/15/2004

Wimbledon winner Maria Sharapova will bring her game to Baltimore to lead an all-star cast of tennis superstars at the Mercantile Tennis Challenge presented by The Baltimore Sun. The ninth-ranked Sharapova will headline the event’s feature singles match at the 1st Mariner Arena on Friday, December 17th at 7
p.m., tournament chairman and founder Pam Shriver announced today.


"2004 has been such an exciting year for me," said Sharapova. "Winning Wimbledon was an unbelievable experience. I look forward to coming back to Baltimore in December to get ready for 2005 and to help support Pam in her charitable efforts."

The 2004 Mercantile Tennis Challenge, the area’s premier charitable sporting event, will celebrate its 19th anniversary in Baltimore thanks to the support of Mercantile Bankshares Corporation, The Baltimore Sun, Northrop Grumman and many other loyal sponsors and contributors.

The 17-year-old Sharapova shocked the tennis world by decisively dethroning defending champion Serena Williams at Wimbledon to capture the singles crown, the first Grand Slam of her young career. Her meteoric rise to the world’s elite players began with a big splash at the 2003 Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round in her first main draw singles appearance. She improved 154 spots in the WTA Tour rankings, finishing the year at No. 32 with singles titles at Japan and Quebec City. In 2004, her success has continued, sweeping the singles and double titles in Birmingham before her dramatic run to the title at Wimbledon.

"I am so excited that Maria has made playing in Baltimore part of her year-end plans," Shriver said. "To be featuring the current Wimbledon champion is like a dream come true. She is one of the hottest stars in the world right now on and off the court and the fans in Baltimore are in for a real treat."

The Mercantile Tennis Challenge presented by the Baltimore Sun is played to benefit the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF), a publicly endowed nonprofit organization that donates proceeds to area children’s charities. Since the event’s inception in 1986, over $3.4 million has been distributed through the BCF Tennis Challenge Fund to child-related causes.

Tickets for the 2004 Mercantile Tennis Challenge presented by The Baltimore Sun go on sale today (September 14th) at 10 a.m. and range in price from $20-$100. Tickets can be purchased at the 1st Mariner Arena Box Office (410) 347-2010 and all TICKETMASTER locations. To charge by phone, call (410) 547-SEAT. Additional ticket and sponsorship information can be obtained by calling the Tournament Office at (410) 296-2929 or by visiting the The Tennis Challenge (http://www.tennischallenge.org/) web site.