Doubles Legends: Navratilova & Shriver
Published April 15, 2010 12:00
Martina Navratilova had superb doubles results with virtually everyone she played with, but her partnership with Pam Shriver was beyond superb. Their 12-year union yielded a list of feats that will likely never be matched and it would be hard to argue against them as the best women's doubles team ever.
The left-handed Navratilova and the right-handed Shriver (Shriver usually played the right side of the court and Navratilova the left, so they both got to favor their forehands) first joined forces following a phone call Navratilova made in 1980.
"She asked me to be her doubles partner," said Shriver in the Bud Collins History of Tennis. "I couldn't believe it."
Navratilova and Shriver did not waste any time asserting their dominance, as they won a remarkable 10 titles in 1981 - their first year together - including their first Grand Slam - Wimbledon. Their accomplishments were even more impressive in 1982, when they won a career-best 12 titles, two of them majors. They recorded 11 more titles in 1983, a prelude to the best season they or any doubles team ever had.
In 1984, Navratilova and Shriver became the first team to win all four majors in the same year, a record that still stands. They actually won eight straight, starting with the 1983 Wimbledon and ending with the 1985 French Open. Also during that period, they won a record 109 consecutive matches, including all 53 they played in 1984. After losing a final in Orlando on April 24, 1983, they did not lose again until the 1985 Wimbledon final on July 6, 1985.
The doubles rankings were introduced in September 1984, in the midst of that remarkable match streak, and Navratilova and Shriver established a monopoly over them. From the rankings' onset until February 1990, either Navratilova or Shriver held the top spot.
From 1986 to 1988, Navratilova and Shriver won another 21 titles, including seven majors. Their Tour Doubles Team of the Year award in 1988 was the last of eight straight years they secured that honor. Their dominance started to dwindle a bit in 1989, as they proceeded to play a bit more with other partners, but they did win the Australian Open that year - the last of their 20 Grand Slams. They did not play at all together in 1990, though that was partly due to a shoulder injury suffered by Shriver. They only won one title in 1991, but it was a big one - the Tour Championships, which they won 10 times overall, including every year from 1981 to 1989.
In 1992, Navratilova and Shriver won two more titles, with the US Hardcourt Championships in San Antonio being their 79th and last as a duo. Their semifinal loss at the Tour Championships in New York City that year was the last match they ever played together.
Martina and Pam's Grand Slam Titles:
Australian Open - '82-'85, '87-'89
French Open - '84-'85, '87-'88
Wimbledon - '81-'84, '86
US Open - '83-'84, '86-'87