Pam Shriver had mixed emotions. "I'm thrilled for myself, I'm sad for Martina," she said after beating her doubles partner, the No. 1 player in the world, in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.
Four years ago, before they became friends, Shriver beat Navratilova in the semifinals of the Open.
"There's something about Martina that reminds me a little of myself," Shriver said. "She's very emotional. She was ranked No. 1 then. I was new. She was like an idol. When I beat her, I felt funny. This is a lot deeper. Obviously, she's a good friend and she was going for the Grand Slam. But still I play for myself.
"Four years ago I was an up and coming 16-year-old," she said. "I had a good draw and I played a tough match against the No. 1 player in the world. I didn't realize the situation. Don (Candy her coach) and I have talked about it a great deal, how it made things a little more difficult . . . A day after finishing the U.S Open, I was back in school . . . It was a tough period for me.
"This probably means more," she said. "I've been through all the ups and downs of trying to do what you want to do in this sport . . . When you put it all together it means more when you are older. Like when I'm 40 and get to the finals of this."
If beating Navratilova at 16 made things difficult, what does it mean at 20? "I kind of have a pattern," she said. "Whenever I do well, I tend to be impossible for the next six months . . . I tend to think one big win and everything will fall into place."
"I was on some kind of a cloud," she said. "All the things Don has been telling me for the last four years, I did."
"It's just nice to know it all lurks," Candy said. "I have faith it's there. Today, it appeared."
So, when Shriver was informed of Navratilova's illness, she sighed.
She was entitled to this victory. She knew Navratilova had been ill with a virus because she had accepted an award for her last week. "Maybe I'm assuming her role for some reason?" she said.
When Navratilova hurried from the court in tears, there were boos because she had not waited for the winner. Shriver said the boos were unfortunate. She understood.