Class of 2002
Singles World No. 3 (1984)
Doubles World No. 1 (1985)
Grand Slam Results
22-time major champion, 7-time finalist
Overall Record: 1247-392
Singles Record: 625-270
Doubles Record: 622-122
Gold Medal in Women’s Doubles at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games
Member of the U.S. Wightman Cup team 1978-1981, 1983, 1985, 1987
Member of the U.S. Championship Wightman Cup Team 1979-1981, 1983, 1985, 1987
Member of the U.S. Federation Cup Team 1986-1987, 1989, 1992
Member of the U.S. Championship Federation Cup Team 1986, 1989
Overall Record: 19-1
Singles Record: 5-0
Doubles Record: 14-1
Pam Shriver made her indelible mark in tennis as one of the greatest doubles players in history. In a career that began when she was a fresh-faced 16-year-old from Baltimore in 1979, and lasted for nearly two decades, Shriver won 111 doubles championships. She is one of only six women’s players in the Open Era to surpass 100 career titles and perhaps more importantly won the women’s Grand Slam in doubles in 1984 with longtime partner Martina Navratilova.
Shriver teamed with Navratilova to form a combination that was virtually unbeatable. The two won 74 titles together – twenty of which came in major tournaments (seven Australian, five Wimbledon, four US Open, four French Open), and the two are tied with Louise Brough Clapp and Margaret Osborne duPont for the most majors as a team in history. The duo’s record-breaking career included a record 109 match winning streak that extended from April 1983 to July 1985. In an 11-year span from 1981 to 1992, they won the WTA Tour Championships ten times and were named the WTA Tour Doubles Team of the Year eight straight times (1981-88). In all, Shriver amassed 21 doubles titles, which ranks second all-time in women’s history behind Navratilova’s 31 and puts her in a three-way tie with Americans Brough Clapp and Osborne duPont.
Shriver’s 6-foot frame, long angular arms and legs made her a tough opponent who, whether playing singles or doubles, was constantly charging the net. Her length and reach could be demoralizing because it took precise shots to slip a ball past her. Shriver’s sharp, punctuating volleys were difficult to combat; her strength, combined with a larger-sized racquet head, didn’t provide many openings. Her vertical extension ruled out lobbing as tactic. When adding the nimble, agile, and powerful Navratilova to the mix, the pair were the most athletic duo in the modern era. Their similar attacking styles left little room for opponents to exploit.
Shriver and Navratilova first teamed at the 1981 Australian Open, where they suffered the first of only three major final losses in 23 opportunities, falling to the American team of Kathy Jordan and Anne Smith, 6-2, 7-5. From 1982-85, Shriver and Navratilova won 11 straight major titles and were only taken to a third set three times. In a rare occurrence, the duo were defeated in the 1985 Wimbledon and US Open finals, but proceeded to win eight majors from the 1986 Wimbledon to the 1989 Australian.
The duo won seven straight Australian titles (1982-89), second all-time to the record 10 won by Aussies Thelma Coyne Long and Nancye Wynne Bolton. They earned five titles at Wimbledon (1981-84, 1986), putting them in a three-way tie for second all-time behind the six earned by Suzanne Lenglen and Elizabeth Ryan. Four championships were captured at the French (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988), a spot shared with just three other combinations. The pair won four US Open titles (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987) tied for second best and behind the incomparable 12 titles won by Brough Clapp and Osborne duPont. Shriver and Navratilova played the majors until the 1989 US Open where Shriver teamed with Mary Joe Fernandez to reach the finals against Navratilova and Hana Mandlikova. Her only major doubles title without Navratilova came at the 1991 US Open, where she partnered with Natasha Zvereva. In 1987 she earned a mixed doubles major title at the French Open with Spain’s Emilio Sanchez.
Shriver caught the world’s attention at the 1978 US Open where she played as an amateur in singles and earned the No. 16 seed. She was the youngest to reach a US Open final, five months younger than 1979 titlist Tracy Austin. Perhaps more surprising than the high school student advancing to the finals against No. 2 seed Chris Evert was how and who she defeated to reach the crowning moment of her singles career. In the semifinals, Shriver knocked off No. 1 Navratilova, 7-6, 7-6, displaying not the slightest tinge of awe. Shriver had a big, flat serve, a unique underspin forehand, and a sliced one-handed backhand. It was a style that was in stark contrast to the topspin games favored on the women’s tour. This distinctive style was in full splendor when she met Evert in the final.
Shriver constantly sliced her forehand deeply and moved like a gazelle to net, but Evert’s backcourt game was too polished and exact, and Shriver couldn’t match stroke-for-stroke with the legend. Shriver did force Evert to mix up her game with her own approaches to net and gave the ultimate champion a strong showing, losing 7-5, 6-4. Evert praised Shriver’s game afterwards, saying “she stayed cool.”
While doubles was her forte, Shriver advanced to 48 tour singles finals, winning 21 of them. Her first championship was earned on January 23, 1978, defeating American Kate Latham in Columbus, Ohio, 6-1, 6-3. To her credit, Shriver was a major singles semifinalist eight times on the fast courts at Australia (1981, 1982, 1983), Wimbledon (1981, 1987, 1988) and the US Open (1982, 1983). Those losses came against the game’s crème de la crème – four against Navratilova, two versus Steffi Graf, and one each against Evert and Mandlikova.
Shriver’s most meaningful non-major championship came in 1988 when she and partner Zina Garrison won the Olympic Gold Medal at the 1988 Games played in Seoul over Helena Suková and Jana Novotná, 4-6, 6-2, 10-8. Shriver was a Wightman Cup team member for five years, winning titles in 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1987. She also was a member of the Fed Cup team for four years, winning titles in 1986 and 1989. In singles she was a world Top 10-ranked player nine times, reaching a high of No. 3 in 1984 and winning 625 matches. She earned a No. 1 doubles ranking in 1985, and won 622 of 744 doubles matches.
Following her playing days, Shriver embarked on a highly successful broadcasting career with several networks, including ABC, CBS, and most notably with ESPN.
Australian Open: SF 1981, 1982, 1983
Wimbledon: SF 1981, 1987, 1988
US Open: F 1978
Australian Open: W 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989
French Open: W 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988
Wimbledon: W 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986
US Open: W 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1991
Australian Open: SF 1991
French Open: W 1987
Wimbledon: SF 1983, 1994