Pam Shriver: Memories from the Cup
By: Nicholas McCarvel
“I was just 15 when I first came to the Family Circle Cup believe it or not,” Pam Shriver says, laughing to herself a bit. “It was my first outdoor tournament.”
And just the fourth professional tournament overall for the lanky teenager from Baltimore, a serve-and-volley player who had grown up on the same green clay used at the Cup.
“I remember in the Savannah airport landing and seeing Chris Evert for the first time in person,” she says, the memory coming alive in her words.
Shriver would win one match in singles that year (1978), falling to her future doubles partner Martina Navratilova in the second round. In only five appearances at the Cup, Shriver would win two doubles titles and make a singles final, but along the way gather an affinity for the tournament that has kept her coming back year-after- year as a TV analyst.
“Of all the cities – including the four majors – Charleston is one of the great places that tennis travels to,” Shriver says. “It’s got a flavor and a character and history and amazing food. Charleston is a little jewel.”
Shriver has returned once again to Charleston alongside Cliff Drysdale, the two serving as commentators for ESPN.
When the tournament moved from Hilton Head to Charleston in 2001, Shriver was uncertain whether it could keep its identity – and history.
“But it was the perfect place to go to,” she says.
“It still has a lot of the things it had when it first started, but it’s more cosmopolitan. It’s truly a great destination in this sport.”