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September 1, 1994

Pam Shriver


Q. Is there any symbolism to that?

PAM SHRIVER: That was the only clean shirt I had in my locker. No, I have been wearing it a lot recently in protest.

Q. In protest of what?

PAM SHRIVER: Of the strike.

Q. Whom are you protesting, your fellow owners?

PAM SHRIVER: The whole scene. I won't pick sides, just the whole thing.

Q. Pam, you walked off the court, just when you walked off; took your glasses off; stopped; took a look around.

PAM SHRIVER: Yeah. A little bit. It was tough going out there. Not easy conditions and this is the first time I had played Lindsay. I knew that game is just as hard for me because she doesn't leave you alone, both sides are very, very penetrating and she returns well, and it doesn't leave me with many options and it puts an awful lot of pressure on my serve. If I don't serve very well, I am just feeling very small, very vulnerable, so that is exactly -- actually, I had a point for 2-Love, that is when I probably should have stopped.

Q. Any sense that that was the last time out for you?

PAM SHRIVER: No, I thought, "Well, shoot, I am in this match," and I am sorry I didn't. . .

Q. Afterwards, was there any sense that that was last time for you to play this tournament?

PAM SHRIVER: I think there is a very strong chance, but I don't know. No big announcement here, I am just saying I -- I will be surprised if I get out there again for singles, be very surprised.

Q. When you first came here you had a great sensational appearance the first time. Lindsay was first time out there on center court. She was talking about just couple of players that she feels right now she can't beat; what kind of career do you see ahead for her?

PAM SHRIVER: She is very consistent. I mean, she is a heavy hitter, but she doesn't make a lot of errors, and she is very accurate with her groundstrokes, and, you know, obviously the ones -- I have a problem handling that kind of heavy pace. I don't have a lot of topspin to come back with it. I just try and hang in there and I am not exactly Miss Swift from the back of the court. So the players who are very agile, who can get a lot of balls back, Sanchez types, can maybe be better. But when she is on, she can just dictate the play from the first hit and, I mean, a little bit like Mary Pierce can and Steffi. I found today I didn't know quite where to go. With Steffi, I know where to go, I just bang it at the backhand as much as I can. Lindsay's backhand was very hard to serve to, and just in general, I just didn't quite know what to do. I mean, that is why she is 7 in the world and on the way up. It is not by accident, that is for sure. She is very good and she is also a nice kid, which is nice.

Q. What would you tell her her next step is for her game?

PAM SHRIVER: Well, I think that it is her overall belief to go to the next level and to know that that is where she belongs and that to overall become as professional and as dedicated as her heart can take her. She has a lot of tools, and I think she has handled the whole scene coming into right now very well. I don't think -- I don't think I would suggest she change anything 'til now. But I think that if she is going to get to that, you know, chasing that one or two spot, then that is an all encompassing, all consuming, basically driven tunnel look at it, and I think -- I don't know her well enough. I don't know the conversations that go on between her coaches and the people that are getting to that trying to get her to the next level, but I am assuming this next year and a half, two years is when the story is going to be told. Because she really hasn't hit a plateau as of yet. I mean, she is just-- she is just improving every six months, getting better and better.

Q. Does she need to be a lot fitter?

PAM SHRIVER: That is obviously the most -- she is not that unfit, I mean, she-- obviously, she is a big gal and she does carry a little extra, but that doesn't mean that somebody is not in pretty dog-gone good shape. The thing is because she can dictate by her strong groundstrokes, she tends to be able to not ever look like -- well, what I am trying to say is because she is always the one on top of it. She doesn't always -- her vulnerability on her footwork or speed doesn't come out that much because she is the one that is just pounding the ball. And a lot of times when you are in that much control you tend to know where the ball is coming back. I mean, if you hit it that way, it can't go back crosscourt on an angle. But that is obviously-- to me, that would be a fairly easy thing to be able to do more off-court work and just get yourself into a little better shape. I think that would be something in the next year that could very well happen. But I don't think it should be written that she is in horrible shape because I don't think she is in bad shape. I just think she is not in the kind of Steffi Graf shape.

Q. She said that you had had dinner with her in Paris and talked to her, gave her advice. She said she didn't feel it was anything special for her as opposed to other young players, that you do it with a lot of them, but did you try to go out of your way to help her because of her promise?

PAM SHRIVER: I have always liked Lindsay. I have always gotten along with her well. As a matter of fact, three years ago when I think it was her first Open, dragged her out on the doubles court to play a practice set against Natasha and myself. She played with my coach and she was like a shy-- it is just very funny to see where she has come in three years. Of all the younger kids, she is probably the one that I have-- without necessarily spending a lot of time with her, she is the one that I kind have had a look at the most maybe because of her height and again because I think she is a very nice person, and I think she has a great deal of promise. I don't know, yes, I just-- I like her attitude. I think she has got a great, fun personality, and she seems to like to handle the off-court stuff pretty well, and it is good.

Q. How strong a kinship do you feel to her, because she does seem so well grounded in addition to being--

PAM SHRIVER: She did do the high school bit, similar to what I did. I think she went to her senior prom, I think I did too. I don't think there many of us playing pro tennis and certainly playing Wimbledon during the same year we went to our senior prom, but -- I think I remember going to my senior prom. Yeah, I am sure I did. So, I think the other thing I like is the fact-- I love her parents. I have never met her parents, but the fact I don't know who they are, I think is terrific. I mean, it is like the first person inside the top 10 whose parents I have never met, and I am crazy about them.

Q. Is it difficult to be that tall at that age; did you feel that?

PAM SHRIVER: She has actually another maybe inch-and-a-half two inches on me.

Q. At least.

PAM SHRIVER: And I know it took me awhile to feel very confident and secure with my height. So I would assume she is probably at a similar -- yeah, similar thing, and I think probably her height -- 15, 20 years ago when I was going through the height thing. I think now there are more tall women and maybe it is not as, I don't know -- hopefully she is going to grow more and more comfortable with it. It is awkward in your teenage years. I think you get more comfortable and confident as you get into your 20s and 30s.

Q. Can you talk about what happened with the WTA election?

PAM SHRIVER: Yeah, I lost.

Q. But sort of give us an assessment on where it has been, where it is going, all of that.

PAM SHRIVER: Well, as far as my own personal feeling, I mean, I gave everything that I could for three years as president. I think the players, I know the board members are very appreciative of the work I put in. I think it has set a different standard for the president in that I served on the pro council and I was very involved not just at our board meetings, but I got to have a hand in the politics and the business at all ends because I feel like it is important if at least one player is attending the meetings where a lot of these decisions and a lot of the course of women's tennis is being set. I don't think it is right to not have a player in those settings. And Martina has made the commitment to sit on that pro council, and to put in a lot of time and since she is retiring, she will have a lot of time. I would love to have finished some things that I feel are still in the middle, but I think I can be a part of the conclusion, even just as a board member and I still serve on the council for a little while. But yeah, I was disappointed, but in this year, especially, Martina commands as much respect as I have ever seen any player command because of how long she has been playing. She has been a board member for so long; she is a past president, so I don't think it was a big shock.

Q. Are you saying it was more of a sentimental vote than it was--

PAM SHRIVER: No, she has made the commitment to put in the time, but I think that in a combination with Martina. It is Martina, it is not like it is, you know, somebody who has just been on the board who is ranked 60 in the world. And you know, Billie Jean is on the board now and that is a formidable group to have to run against; that is not easy.

Q. Do you see a radical change?

PAM SHRIVER: No, I don't think there is going to be radical changes. Martina has been on board through this whole new look of how we want to do business through integration, merging of the player operations of the player association and the council. She voted for it the other night in the general meeting. I would be shocked if she proposes any major major changes. We basically had three years of trying to have a new set up that will enable us to operate effectively. If she is talking about on-court changes, whether how we present the game or coaching, various, whatever it is, speed it up, or you know, team tennis type stuff, that is a whole different discussion. You can change the scene on-court or you can change the scene off-court. I haven't sat down with her and had any long discussions, but that was not a part of her platform the other night was having any major, major changes, because I don't believe the board would have approved of that.

Q. If this is your final Open, can you think of any special time, special year that you cherish?

PAM SHRIVER: 16 years ago, it is hard to look past that. 78. Also, I think coming back the year after I had shoulder surgery and winning the doubles here in '91 with Zvereva, that was really very exciting for me, so I'd say those two memories are probably as good as any here.

Q. What were you feeling on the court? You were down 30 in the second, you held serve; the crowd was--

PAM SHRIVER: Oh dear, I--

Q. -- felt bad for you, I think.

PAM SHRIVER: I hate feeling like there is sympathy clapping and sarcastic. My pride, you have your pride and just like part of you just wants to run outside and just finish the match on-court 22. Then you just try really hard to try and get back in the match whenever you can; that wasn't the case. I guess I want to try and keep my dignity, not get really mad. I didn't want to cry, so managed just about to do, you know, I don't think I made a fool of myself.

Q. And coming off at that point you seemed very emotional?

PAM SHRIVER: Actually, I caught myself a little bit by surprise. I was a little emotional. You know, I think it has been an emotional few days, in general. There has been a lot going on and, you know, at times this is a very difficult scene and a difficult -- you put a lot of emotion into your tennis and there are times when you just get a little emotional, but I didn't -- wasn't like I needed help off the court or anything. All right. This is coming off. You guys have been on the "last question" for about 20 minutes.

End of FastScripts...

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