Shriver puts finishing touch on singles career Legends, doubles, TV work now will occupy her time

March 28, 1997|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

For the past four years, Pam Shriver has been inching toward giving up her singles tennis career, and now she has done it.

After losing in the third round at a tournament in Oklahoma City three weeks ago, Shriver said she was pretty sure that would be the last singles event in her career.

Now, she said, it's definite.

"It's been [a month] and I'm still 100 percent sure," Shriver said. "I feel good about it. It's been harder and harder to get wild cards to get into events. I can no longer get into anything with my ranking. Finally, I felt I could wrap it up."

Shriver, ranked 169 in singles, will continue to play on the Legends Tour and hopes to play doubles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. She also will continue to do television work, including this weekend at the Lipton Tournament in Florida for ESPN.

She was given a wild-card entry into the Oklahoma City tournament by event organizer Sarah Fornaciari, an old Baltimore friend, who had promoted the first pro event Shriver had participated in back in 1978 in Washington. To Shriver, it seemed her career had come full circle.

"It's been a much better run than I ever thought possible -- though the last bit of it was an amble," Shriver said of a career that spanned 19 years, one month. "I think to most people it's my doubles career that stands out and sometimes I'm a little annoyed by that.

"Martina [Navratilova] and I had the greatest doubles partnership of all time, but I was No. 3 in the world for a couple years and from mid-1980 to mid-1989 I was not ranked outside the top 10 for even one week [for singles].

"When I think about it, and I don't very often, that's an individual accomplishment that I think is No. 1 to me."

Shriver won 21 singles titles and made it to the finals of the U.S. pTC Open her rookie season. But she and Navratilova won 79 tournament titles, including 20 Grand Slams before ending their partnership in 1989. After the two went separate ways, Shriver won her last Grand Slam title in 1991 with Natalia Zvereva at the U.S. Open. She also has a 1987 Grand Slam mixed doubles title at the French Open.

"Some people thought playing with Martina hurt my singles, but I thought just the opposite was true," Shriver said. "I think it made me better, made me more competitive to stay close to her in the rankings. The same was true with Chrissy [Evert]. I chased those two until I was exhausted."

Pub Date: 3/28/97

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