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August 27, 1996

Pam Shriver


Q. It was pretty brutal out on Court 18. I was out there.

PAM SHRIVER: It was hot, loud. No, it was fine. I actually quite like the little court. quite like the court. It's a nice little stadium court. It's frustrating I couldn't hold serve. I had an injury hanging over from last week. I played really well in San Diego. A couple of really tough matches. As usual, if I have something that goes wrong, it takes a lot longer to mend than it used to. I was suffering a bit from that.

Q. Are you saying what that was.

PAM SHRIVER: A groin strain. Always embarrassing to say you have a groin strain. It sounds very -- like I was real adventuresome or something, but I wasn't. Just a regular tennis injury. Actually through the years I've had a lot of them.

Q. So did the serving and the heat and the groin, was it all that?

PAM SHRIVER: It was mostly my left leg. That was a problem. I started off great. As a matter of fact, I'm going to try after a couple more hours, just remember the first two games, the way I started. I've been hitting the ball very well. I started really positively, played a couple great games. I hadn't tested the game the last couple days in practice, trying to rest it. I didn't practice much. When it came down to really trying to test it, it didn't do that well. Sort of a slow decline. I'm just going to try to remember those first two games.

Q. How is that going to affect your doubles?

PAM SHRIVER: Well, doubles is so much easier on something like that because you don't have anywhere near the side to side movement. If you have a problem like I have, it's the side to side stuff. It's not great, but it's nowhere near -- covering half the court is nowhere near the problem. I tried to get in the mixed doubles, but Pat Cash, we were going to play - and he ended up getting off the court at five to four - looked a lot worse than I did. He has a back problem. Dateless and desperate, I didn't get into mixed doubles.

Q. You're here in singles on a wildcard. Would you feel the --

PAM SHRIVER: Same as Wimbledon. Unless I get my ranking up so I get directly in, I think it's not appropriate for me to ask for two of them. I think one at the end of a career is fine. I really don't think it's appropriate. The only way I think I'd play here next year in singles is if I get my ranking up, which means I'd have to have one really good tournament along the line, get myself back up inside the top 110, which is possible, but it's not like it's my next 12 months' ambition. If it happens, great. If it doesn't, then I can live with that.

Q. What is your next 12 months' ambition?

PAM SHRIVER: Well, I've got some interesting television work in the next couple of months. I'd like to do well -- there's a fun ABC event at the end of September and also I'm doing the Fed Cup final for ESPN. I'm going to try to do the play by play instead of the color or the analyst. I'm trying a couple new things. I hope that goes well because that's really what I enjoy most right now pursuing. I also still want to stay in shape, play a limited number of events, do what I do when I'm home in Baltimore, which is stay pretty busy, watch the Orioles play the playoffs. They were struggling to win 11 to 10 in the 10th ining. I had the radio turned in a certain position, but it came in.

Q. Will you be playing doubles next year?

PAM SHRIVER: Well, my ranking is still top 30. I would like to play some doubles. I don't know with whom. I always thought I'd end my career playing with somebody young who was on the way up. I want to talk to a couple of the youngsters and see if they want to try to carry me around the court a little bit.

Q. Is it surprising that we see you here with Zina this time around?

PAM SHRIVER: Zina and I talked the week after Wimbledon, playing a special event in Newport, we were ready to go down to the Olympicss in Atlanta, part of the Golden 100, tennis' gold medal representatives, eight years since Seoul. Sounded like a fun thing to do. Neither one of us has a regular partner this year. We decided to play San Diego and here. We're seeded 13, so we're hoping it's a lucky one.

Q. How do you get a team like you and Martina? Just chance?

PAM SHRIVER: I guess it's a little bit of luck. I think the little or fortunate part is that we lasted for almost ten years. I think people can play very good doubles together for a time, but over a decade, it's very difficult. It just so happens that the '80s were both of our peaks in singles. I was ranked 3, 4 or 5 most of the time we played. She was No. 1 a lot of the time, until '87 when Graf came on. We both played together while we were playing our best tennis. We got along well. Levity, right combination is always helpful. You put everything together and it turned out to be quite a good partnership, great partnership, sort of my defining thing of my career.

Q. Pam, three tennis players came out of Baltimore. There's been no one really since. Isn't there anyone? Was that a fluke?

PAM SHRIVER: I think probably when the three of us were all ranked inside the top 30 in the world, probably no other city had three. I think it was a very unusual thing. I'm not sure that any city can count on that happening, especially three natives. It's not like you moved to south Miami or something like that. I think that can happen. That was a great time for us. What's unfortunate is that it didn't lead to any more coming up behind us. I think it led to a great interest in tennis, which is fine.

Q. Do you have any thoughts on the seeding controversy here?

PAM SHRIVER: Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts. I always have thoughts about things. The Grand Slams for a number of years have not approved of the ATP Tour ranking. Both sides have made their feelings known. The Grand Slams have a very difficult time when somebody like Edberg a few years ago lost first round in two of the four Grand Slams, but because he played enough tournaments, it didn't affect his ranking, they were dropped off. If there's anything a Grand Slam chairman hates more than having their tournament not count on a player's record, I'm not sure what it is. That is very -- I think the ATP Tour, unless they want to continue to have this bad relation, they need to respect the fact that the Grand Slams feel their results deserve to be on somebody's record for 12 months. I think probably they should have -- the USTA maybe could have given a little more warning. Maybe the surprise factor wasn't a help. Also the fact that it looked like you have US players being favored, that was unfortunate. But they have the rights, they're within the rules. I mean, it's a shame, but both sides have been angry at each other for a long time on this computer ranking issue.

Q. Do you think the US players were favored or is it just chance?

PAM SHRIVER: I hope not. Look, Agassi won the Olympics, he won Cincinnati. Who knows what he would have done if he wasn't defaulted from the other tournament. He was the hot player on the Tour. He's won this tournament before. He's a very good hardcourt player. Chang over Muster, I think that's probably -- I feel badly for Muster. I feel like he's not respected, and he should be. The guy has been incredible. That's unfortunate. I didn't answer your question. I think it's understandable why they would want to put a former champion, someone who plays well on hardcourts, last year's runner-up, I can see where they would want to move him up. Wimbledon does this every year, but this is not grass court, considered a neutral surface, so people have expected the US Open to go by the rankings, but not anymore.

Q. Pam, as you wind down, Stefan was in here a little while before you, as he winds down, can you put a take on why he's able to do what he's able to do now, why he's able to beat players that ostensibly he shouldn't be able to beat at this stage?

PAM SHRIVER: I think his game, he puts pressure on people to come up with passes. He's very smart, very high percentage serve and volley player. He's still young. What is he, 30? That's young. I don't think it's a big surprise. He's won this tournament before. I saw him last night. We ate in the same restaurant. I was hoping we'd both have the same result, but it didn't happen. I think he's still not that far off. He's still a very good player. I hope he doesn't regret quitting too early because he could definitely still have a lot of great wins in his early 30s. A lot of champions, they don't like to see themselves at 20 in the world. I think there's also a lot of champions that feel they quit too early and then they regret it. It's something very special about competing and being -- even if you're not 1 or 2 or 3, but being one of the best in the world. Only time will tell if he regrets it.

Q. Pam, is Graf the best player of all time or would you still put Martina and Chris in that category?

PAM SHRIVER: Well, at 27, I think there's nobody's record at age 27 that's been better than Graf. It's always hard before somebody's career is completed to do the whole scenario. You can look at Martina and Chris' record now, and I think the only reason I would still give them an edge is because they remain so excellent into their 30s. I think longevity and the quality of somebody's play with longevity. Martina, the fact that she was for 20 years ranked in the top four in the world, that carries for me a ton of weight. Chrissie wasn't too far off that. She played her last US Open here in '89, still No. 4 in the world as well. If Graf retires in the next year or two, obviously she has one of the great records of all time, but it's only over about an 11 or ten-year span. Martina, obviously coming from me it's no surprise, I look at her doubles. I look at the fact that she was No. 1 in both for such a very long time. Her overall Grand Slam titles are extremely impressive. I think only Margaret Court surpasses her.

Q. Does Seles' absence put an asterisk on some of Graf's accomplishments in the two and a half years?

PAM SHRIVER: Her absence to me puts it over the whole game of tennis. You say, No. 1 in the world was taken from the sport for two and a half years. For Steffi, you can only play who is out there. You can't create -- can't really play that game, I don't think. It's not fair for Steffi. She still won the titles, and not all of them were easy. She lost a few as well in there. Obviously when people think about the years from '93 until August of '95, anyone who knows tennis, Seles didn't play, Seles, one of the great young players of all times. It's unfortunate for everybody.

Q. Talk approximating champions. Any thoughts on Jennifer losing today?

PAM SHRIVER: Annabel Elwood is one of the few people I've beaten this year, and she's a great player. Jennifer, obviously it's tough. In the spring she had some really good results, beat Coetzer at Lipton, got to the quarterfinals at a couple of events, looked good. She had some injuries. She missed two and a half years of the Tour. Just goes to show, even if you're young and come back, like Monica has had troubles, a lot of injuries that come up when you've missed that length of time. I hope she sticks with it and doesn't feel any great pressure and she just plays because she wants to play. I don't think you can ever take one win when you're at the stage Jennifer is in and put too much weight on it, I just can't.

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