In this interview, we chat with Pam Shriver, a former player with 22 career doubles majors, and a renowned commentator on ESPN and Tennis Channel.
Additionally, she is a top-30 WTA singles coach, coaching Donna Vekic, and a mother. Pam was a dominant force on the doubles tour, having won 111 titles in total.
During the conversation, we delve into several topics related to doubles, including the state of doubles and some semi-controversial comments around the current level of ATP doubles, the dominance of the Czechs, and net play strategies. We also touch on Pam’s busy schedule and how she manages it.
Pam and I also discuss:
- What makes the Charleston Open a special tournament.
- How she feels she has helped Donna Vekic improve to be a top player.
- What her upcoming schedule looks like for the clay and grass seasons.
Tennis Tribe writer, Hanlon Walsh, joins me for this conversation from Charleston. Pam was generous with her time, and very open and honest with us. For such a big name in our sport, she was really easy to talk to. I think you’ll enjoy it.
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Interview Notes from this Podcast
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- Follow Pam: Twitter | Instagram
- What makes Charleston special and what are some things to do there?
- Charleston is special because of its southern hospitality, great food, history, and beautiful waterways.
- Related Podcast: Bob Moran Interview
- Can you describe a day in the life of Pam Shriver?
- Tennis Channel uses a shift system for their employees, so right now she generally works the late shift.
- A typical day for Pam includes waking up, having coffee, communicating with players and coaches via WhatsApp, taking care of her kids, and working the assigned shift.
- At the time of recording, she felt Badosa, Bencic, and Pegula stood out as the possible singles champions. Bencic would lose in the finals to Jabeur.
- Pam did not watch a lot of doubles because she loves to golf and watched the Masters.
- How does Pam Shriver assess the current state of doubles?
- Pam Shriver believes that less prize money went into doubles at the start of Open tennis, so people went to singles.
- Doubles has a great niche, and women’s doubles has a very strong community.
- For doubles to be as popular as singles, more money needs to be put into it, it needs to be on TV more, and there needs to be more exposure, including stars playing doubles, doubles-only weeks, team competitions, more stars like the Bryan brothers, mic’d up with doubles apps, mid-match interviews, and only doubles league.
- She thinks the face of doubles is currently Pegula/Gauff. Men’s doubles is struggling, and the quality is poor.
- What is Pam Shriver’s view on why the Czechs are so dominant in doubles?
- Pam Shriver believes that the Czechs get along well and know each other very well after playing together for a while.
- Krejcikova is very solid, but Pegula/Gauff could beat them because they are also very good.
- Related Podcast: Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova Interview
- How did Pam Shriver help Donna Vekic, and what is her schedule for the clay/grass season?
- Pam Shriver provided an experienced voice of clarity as to how Vekic can play her best by leaning into her strengths, such as her power game. This was her first time coaching a high-level player.
- Recently, she hasn’t traveled as much because of her kids. She focuses on broadcasting and coaching. She plans to be at the French Open in person and provide a lot of virtual input for other tournaments.
- Who is Pam Shriver’s ideal doubles partner in today’s game, and what is her view on Twitter Spaces?
- Pam Shriver’s ideal doubles partner in today’s game is Coco because of her reach at the net, overhead, and movement. She could also help Gauff simplify her game.
- Pam Shriver thinks that Twitter Spaces are nice, like talk radio, but she is trying to take a break from Twitter because it causes her to be too impulsive and agitating. Still, Twitter Spaces help connect a community, especially after COVID.
- What is Pam Shriver’s one tip for club-level net play?
- Pam advises club-level players to always look at their opponents instead of looking backward, as opponents will cue them.