It was one of those enduring moments. Pam Shriver had just beaten her friend and doubles partner, Martina Navratilova, in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, ending Navratilova's quest for tennis' Grand Slam and dissipating the aura of invincibility that enveloped Navratilova in 1982. Pam Shriver, who can be too nice, apologized.
Later, Navratilova, who has lost only three matches this year, revealed that she had been suffering from a strange disease, acute toxoplasmosis. Shriver understood: Navratilova didn't want anyone to think she had "choked." Shriver also knew she deserved to win.
"I think she has a little more respect for me deep down," Shriver, ranked sixth in the world, said yesterday. "I wish we could sit down and look at a tape of it. She would say, 'See, I didn't move the way I should on that.' I would say, 'But I hit it a lot harder than I usually do and look at the placement.'
"We've talked about it a little but it's always around the illness. I'd rather not talk about it at all. I don't want to tarnish it in any way."
Shriver, who came to town to talk about the new year, which will begin in Washington Jan. 3 with the Virginia Slims tournament, looked back at the Open for a few moments. Rarely is one match so pivotal for so many. It prevented "women's tennis from being boring the rest of the year," said Shriver, who is rarely boring.
It also helped Chris Evert Lloyd win her sixth U.S. Open and salvage an otherwise "mediocre year. It put her back in the thick of things," Shriver said.