When Pam Shriver and Frank Deford met three years ago, he was writing a story for Sports Illustrated and she was enjoying one of the longest and most prosperous winning streaks of her career. Shortly after, Deford helped persuade Shriver to become involved personally with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundaton.

One aspect of Shriver's involvement is her Thanksgiving holiday tennis tournament in Baltimore that last year netted more than $140,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Tonight, Saturday and Sunday, the First National Bank Cystic Fibrosis Tennis Festival at Loyola College's Reitz Arena is expected to attract some 11,000 spectators as Shriver, fellow tennis professionals and celebrity guests play a three-day exhibition tournament. Proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland.

"The idea came up three years ago when I meet Frank," said Shriver. "He was doing a story on me stemming from a diary I wrote about life on the ladies' pro tour. At the time, I was looking to get involved in something extra, outside of tennis.

"I knew I wanted to play in some small charity exhibitions, but there were so many, I wasn't sure which to choose."

"I had read Frank's book, 'Alex: The Life of a Child,' {about the death of his 8-year-old daughter after a battle with cystic fibrosis}," Shriver said. "The {decision to organize the} tournament was a matter of timing. I had then decided to work with cystic fibrosis and I'd never played a professional tennnis tournament in Baltimore. So I decided to combine the two."

Her Thanksgiving tournament now is the largest single contributor to the Maryland Foundation, according to Sue Lovell, exective director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland.

The tournament, which offers $100,000 in prize money, has attracted a highly competitive field for men's, women's and pro-am play.

Baltimore's Elise Burgin and Zina Garrison, ranked ninth in the world, join No. 4 Shriver and No. 3 Chris Evert in the women's field. The men competing are Tim Wilkison, Tim Gullikson, Bud Schultz and John Ross.

This year's celebrities will include ABC baseball analyst Jim Palmer, Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, Orioles outfielder Larry Sheets and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.

Tonight, Ross will play Tim Gullikson at 7 followed by a women's singles match between Shriver and Garrison. Saturday, play begins at 1 with Wilkison playing Schultz in singles, followed by a doubles match between Evert/Gullikson and Garrison/Ross. To complete play Sarturday evening, Robinson and Burgin will square off against Sheets and Shriver.