HANA AND PAM SHRIVER
Hana and Pam shared many of the same qualities both on and off court. They were both excellent attacking players that were very good at recognizing when they've hurt an opponent. And they both could be visibly emotional on court. Having the same rebellious temperament didn't always make for good relations between the two. But they ended up being friends and occasional doubles partners. It's a shame that they only met once in grand slam competition, the 1982 US Open SF.
Early on, Hana was, to some people, brusque, aloof, and sometimes unfriendly. But just when the tennis world seemed to be down on Hana in 1984, Pam Shriver offered a different point of view in Tennis Magazine.
Pam said that after she won a tournament in Australia, Hana sent her congratulatory telegram. Pam said that this was the one and only time (to that date) that any pro had ever done that for her and she genuinely appreciated the thoughfulness behind the gesture.
The next year, the two teamed up as doubles partners a few times throughout the year. In the beginning, it didn't go exactly the way Pam thought it would.
They first teamed up at West Palm Beach and faced Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss. Pam says in her book, Passing Shots
, that Hana told her that she didn't take overheads. Pam thought, "Great. Number 3 in world and not used to taking overheads!" And what does Hana do? The first chance for an overhead smash, Pam moves to take it and then quickly has to duck to avoid being "decapitated!"
During a particular stretch of the match, Hana was having trouble getting first serves in. So Pam suggested to her to just spin one in up the middle. Hana nods and okay and then "promptly whacked a hard serve 5 feet wide." Hana later explained about the serve, "Oh, I changed my mind after I tossed the ball up. I can't help it."
Later in her book, she refers to Hana as, "the talented, gifted, athletic, and wacky Hana."
Hana took exception to the last comment but was later able to joke with Pama about it when they teamed again later in the year in Filderstadt. This time their partnership produced a tournament title. In Hana's book, she describes a funny moment during that tournament. They were playing Andrea Temesvari and Pam's good friend Elise Burgin. The German umpire announced during the match, "Advantage Virgin!" To which all 4 players bursted out laughing. It took several minutes for all to recover their composure and continue the match. I like that story because its always nice to see 4 pros sharing a lighter moment on court during serious competition - especially someone that's been labelled as much as Hana.
After a particularly hard fought match between them in Chicago in 1986 where Hana won 7-5 in the third, they decided to forgo the customary handshake at the net afterwards and instead hugged one another while congratulating each other on such a great match.
The two teamed up again early in 1989 as Hana made her comeback and won in Indian Wells. But when Martina decided to take a break from her doubles partnership with Pam after Wimbledon, things got a little testy when Martina asked Hana to be her partner at the US Open. Pam waited until the last minute to decide to even play the doubles at that event. Luckily, Mary Jo Fernandez became available just before sign up closed.
As luck would have it, both teams made it through the draw to play each other in the finals. And as Pam said, the underdog team of Fernandez/Shriver came within just a few points of winning the tournament. It was a tense and somewhat unpleasant match because of the circumstances and there were a couple of awkward moments in the post match awards ceremony. But the friendship was mended and the two teamed once again in early 1990 before Hana retired.
In her book, Hana said that she hoped that Pam would win a grand slam title one day because she was a hard worker and got everything out of her game that she could. Unfortunately, Pam didn't. But she did have a great singles career and a brilliant doubles career that earned her a spot in the International Tennis Hall of Fame right along side of Hana.