Pam Shriver - US Open finalist aged 16, winning Olympic Gold, and partnering Martina Navratilova

The Tennis Podcast
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Thank you so much for doing. This is an absolute treat to have you come and yeah in very strange circumstances obviously for everybody in the world not just the tennis world. You're joining us from California. I believe how how things over there. How has lockdown? How you coping the situation and the lack of tennis in La Lives. Well I would say over all I'm really proud of my three teenagers at a time. When teenagers want to distance themselves from their parents. They've accepted what has to be done. I feel like California in the mayor of Los Angeles I live. We live in Los Angeles. So we've had some leadership both at the state level and and at the city level that has been really strong very consistent and I think that's one of the reasons why Are Part of the United States is actually done much better than expected in pleased that the generation who the order to stay at home. It's really counterintuitive to what they want but There's been a lot of acceptance in I can tell you as a homeowner sixteen years ago bought up property with a private tennis court. Tennis court is one of the reasons why a couple of us in the family have kept better sanity. How much you missing professional tennis right now? Well you know I missed Indian. Wells would have been an easy drive. I missed that one. The most I will tell you because of the business of my home life regardless of a pandemic or even if I'm just driving my three kids around and The the level of detail that I would follow the tour from week to week is not as detailed as it would be like when I worked for ESPN at Melbourne and maybe look the weeks leading up to Melbourne. I knew what was going on in the lead up tournament so for me personally. I haven't missed it that much but we haven't yet gone past one of the tournaments. I think would impact us the most which would be say for for me. Roland. Garros Wimbledon. I mean I thought the tennis will did a great job of I mean it was tough call for Indian Wells. I remember that Sunday night when it was called It took everybody by little bit by surprise but it just started the domino effect of what this virus in the effects on the world sports It just started a series of closures around the world yet studying to look like a very pristine cooled by by that tournament. Looking at your Your social media. You look like you've taken the opportunity during lockdown to have the most neatly and cleanly arranged trophy show in all of Iraq in Pam. Yeah one of my first during lockdown one of the first things I was thinking. Well little things can I post What content would be interesting and I thought all right well. My mantle pretentious fans would be interesting to see The the major championship doubles trophies. Most support try one with Martina. There was a US Open with a net. Pashas vary of there was some Fed Cup stuff. There was recognition of our Grand Slam doubles year as well as the year. I got the finals of US. Open in singles at Sixteen. So I thought it was kind of a fun tour and I guess most of the stuff I posted that one had the most views in. I think it just shows you how much people want to see one way or another or or touch any way major tennis. He absolutely in all of these things that that you just mentioned there. I I really want to talk about. I in first and foremost your your partnership with Martina Navratilova. Seventy four doubles titles together including Twenty Grand Slams. You're you're still the most successful women's doubles partnership of all time. What what made you such a great partnership the too well. I think there are a lot of things I think when you look at how we played our singles The style of play with serve volley back in the eighties. That was kind of. That's how you play doubles back then too so it was really Our our singles games translated into being great doubles players. Naturally the lefty righty combination. If you look in tennis history whether it's nukem Roach whether it's the Brian twins whether it's McEnroe Fleming There's a lot of great Lefty righty doubles teams. I just think you know the choice of who serves the sun's tougher righty. There's just a lot of things that are beneficial to having a lefty righty Our personalities you don't have a partnership that long if your personalities don't gel well We enjoyed each other Our senses of humor clicked in. There are a lot of those matches through the years where we would play after. Martina was the featured match at night So we played and we had to wait late night tennis So if you didn't enjoy each other and our coaches got along. Well obviously we had teams. That were much smaller back then. My team was generally just one Martino. It's one of the first that brought in teams of more than one But our team's got along well and so it just led to who knew that January eighty-one with lead to what it ended up leading to it was I think ultimately nineteen eighty that Martina. Kool G to US could be your your partner partner. What do you remember about that? Phone call was at Deer Creek Country Club in Deerfield Beach Florida having a late practice and I'm a member. Lee Jackson longtime referee for the tour and She came out and You know years and years before anyone has self owner yet said Martinez on the phone and I mean whoever is practicing with the it was the practice was abandoned Iran in got it got on the phone. And W T tour office and You know she asked me. She doesn't mix her words. She didn't learn a lot of pleasantries. Just asked me if I had that commitment to doubles partner for the next year and I said no I did not. I had just the. Us Open just a month prior. I'd gotten into the finals with Betty Stove in Betty Stove his last tournament. And we lost Billie Jean King and Martinez. I think it was six six or five and five and I think that was probably the last indicator. Martina needed that. She she she was looking for. A younger partner was starting. Her career could play for a period of time and so it was obvious it. I didn't even have to break commitment. Thank God because if I'd had a commitment to somebody I mean that would have been a tough a tough one to pass on playing doubles with Martina. So I'm glad it worked out that I didn't have a commitment to a partner confessed to a tip off from for Mary Carillo but she has suggested that that I ask you about asking Martina to sign a cocktail Napkin to seal to seal team together forever. Yeah well we had already been together a long time because we we. We went through a stage at think Springtime of eighty four. We lost in the tournament of Champions in Orlando. We didn't lose again for over two years so I think it was. One hundred nine straight matches When we hit a one hundred wins and it was in Eastbourne so the tournament director George. Tendon threw a party for us that night. And we were celebrating To to the history of tennis no one can remember doubles team ever hitting one hundred wins in a row so A I decided to take that moment. I wrote a contract on a on a peeper. Napping it says I'M MARTINA NAVRATILOVA. Promise always to play doubles with Pam. Shriver and I had a witness line. The George Hendon was signed in as I stood up to give the toast and give the contract Martinez in my head ended up in a lamp shade so it was kind of like it was funny and it was. I have that I have. I still have that cocktail napkins somewhere. But it's back in Baltimore. My hometown Collecting dust but will not be thrown out. One hundred nine matches is is truly extraordinary April nine hundred ninety three to July one thousand nine hundred five did you did you feel. Invincible is a team. Well a lot of those matches we went into the matches knowing we were going to win them. But there was a handful that were incredibly dicey and I remember one in particular that was Right in the middle while it was about win number seventy five and it was in Madison Square Garden against our longtime rival. They were generally the number two team behind us. For many of those years Souckova Elena Sakaba Claudia. Coda kill and we came down to a tiebreak in the final set and I remember it was five. All it was late in the tie-break whenever I was returning and Martina just said return it low and I'm going to go and I'm like yes ma'am you know like you WanNa. That was great. It was like a plan now. Of course then you still have to execute but I remember as soon as I hit the return like that's going to be a low. It was a good return. Sheet timed or poach perfectly. Put It away and then we won the next point on serve so that was the hairiest moments that was when we came within two points of losing. But other than that. I don't remember match where we were like. Matchpoints down we. We won a lot of those matches during that streak in

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