Shriver volleying for partner after she, Navratilova part ways

November 12, 1992|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Call it a no-fault divorce -- tennis style.

Pam Shriver and Martina Navratilova, who combined to form the most dominant doubles team in women's tennis history, are severing their partnership.

And this time, unlike an on-again, off-again two-year split that began in 1989, it's for good.

But Shriver said there are no hard feelings.

"I knew it was the best deal for both of us," Shriver said. "Martina doesn't want to commit to a full doubles season and I'd like to find a partner who can play 12 to 14 times a year."

The pair will compete in one last tournament at next week's season-ending Virginia Slims Championships in New York.

Then, Shriver and Navratilova will make one final encore as a team in the First National Bank Tennis Festival Presented by the Baltimore Sun. The event will be held Nov. 24 at the Baltimore Arena, and also will draw Gabriela Sabatini and Mary Joe Fernandez.

Together, Shriver and Navratilova won 21 Grand Slam doubles titles. During a 2 1/2 -year stretch during the mid-1980s, they won 109 consecutive matches.

But it wasn't just the triumphs and the titles that made Shriver and Navratilova so dynamic as tennis partners. They had matching fiery personalities and perfectly blended serve and volley instincts.

Their previous split in 1989 was certainly more traumatic. Shriver had just slid from the top 10 in the women's tennis rankings and PTC was eager to keep her partnership with Navratilova intact. But Navratilova was eager for a change.

In the 1989 U.S. Open, they managed to reach the doubles final, with different partners. Navratilova and Hana Mandlikova eventually defeated Shriver and Fernandez in a stirring three-set match.

Shriver and Navratilova resumed their partnership in 1991 and won the Virginia Slims title. They added two tour victories this year and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Shriver will spend the next few weeks trying to solidify a new partnership.

"Wanted: One young American, super-talented," Shriver said. "But someone like that doesn't just come out of the trees."

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