Shriver now another All England wanna-be Lutherville pro adjusts to long-shot status

June 21, 1992|By Richard Finn | Richard Finn,Virginia Slims Slimstat SystemContributing Writer

WIMBLEDON, England -- The days of strolling onto the All England Club grounds assured of being a Wimbledon title contender are long gone for Pam Shriver.

Since making her second consecutive semifinal in 1988, Shriver has lost twice in the third round and missed the 1990 tournament because of shoulder surgery.

"I don't go in with any preconceived ideas anymore," said Shriver, of Lutherville, who also reached the 1981 semifinals and the quarterfinals in '84 and '85. "I can no longer say that I want to fulfill my seeding because I'm not seeded or I want to get to the semis.

"It is not like I'm one of the top four and will win my first couple of rounds comfortably. I go in as an underdog and as a dangerous floater a seed doesn't want to play. I just want to get my teeth into the tournament and get on a wave and ride it."

To open her 14th Wimbledon, Shriver has been provided with a decent first-round matchup against Elena Brioukhovets of Ukraine.

Brioukhovets has dropped out of the world's top 100 this year, but did match Shriver last year by getting to the third round. It was the second Wimbledon of Brioukhovets career.

Shriver's task would immediately get much tougher if she defeats Brioukhovets. Shriver likely would face sixth-seeded Jennifer Capriati in the second round.

Shriver though has done her homework well, and the soon-to-be 30-year-old is approaching Wimbledon with an upbeat attitude.

"I've done what I want to do, and that was play a lot of matches," said Shriver, who made the semifinals in consecutive weeks at Beckenham and Birmingham before going out last week in the third round at Eastbourne. "That is enough matches to make you feel like you have done some work.

"Now I just want to take my game to a little bit higher level and, if I do that, I know I will win and play good matches."

Shriver was especially encouraged by her 7-5, 6-3 victory over Zina Garrison, the world's 13th-ranked player, in the Birmingham quarterfinals. Down 4-2 in the first set, Shriver took command to dominate the 1990 Wimbledon runner-up.

"That was as a complete match as I have done against a quality opponent since my shoulder surgery [in 1990]," said Shriver.

In handicapping the field, Shriver figures that top-seeded Monica Seles, defending champion and second-seeded Steffi Graf and her longtime doubles partner, fourth-seeded Martina Navratilova, whom she will play with again this week, are the ones who should be favored.

However, Shriver does have hesitations about Navratilova's form after her second-round loss at Eastbourne in her only pre-Wimbledon appearance.

"She is going into Wimbledon way, way underdone," she said. "There is no way in a tight situation she is going to feel good

about that."

Shriver's career at Wimbledon

Pam Shriver's career singles record at Wimbledon, with round reached and opponent who eliminated her:

@Year.. Rd. ..Opponent

1978.. 3rd.. Sue Barker

1979.. 2nd.. Withdrew*

1980.. 4th.. Billie Jean King

1981.. SF.. .Chris Evert

1982.. 4th.. Barbara Potter

1983.. 2nd.. Iva Budarova

1984.. QF.. .Kathy Jordan

1985.. QF.. .Martina Navratilova

1986.. 1st.. Betsy Nagelsen

1987.. SF.. .Steffi Graf

1988.. SF.. .Steffi Graf

1989.. 3rd.. Gretchen Magers

1990.. DNP.. Injured

1991.. 3rd.. Mary Joe Fernandez

* Forced to withdraw with shoulder injury after first-round victory and before second-round match.

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