Dressed for occasion, if not a win


WIMBLEDON, England -- The dress was long and black. The smile radiant, as she turned in the Royal Box to speak to her companion.

Princess Diana was there with her oldest son, Prince William -- or Wills, as she calls him. And Susan St. James was there with her husband, Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Sports.

But the woman with the happy face -- and in that dress -- was Pam Shriver, talking to her "very good friend" Tony Meehan.

"Tony's from Australia, and he's here with me, but it's hard to say he's a boyfriend when he lives in Australia," said Shriver, lifting a hand to her cheek. "But I'm blushing aren't I."

About a half an hour earlier, Shriver had lost her mixed doubles semifinal match with partner Byron Black, 6-3, 7-6 (10-8), to T.J. Middleton and Lori McNeil.

Middleton and McNeil play Todd Woodbridge and Helena Sukova for the mixed doubles title today.

The loss meant the end of Wimbledon for Shriver for at least this year, but there had been moments earlier in the day that seemed more important. She had to leave the Royal Box after the first set for her doubles practice, but she got back in time to watch the women's singles award ceremony before going on Court 1 with Black.

"It was emotional for me," Shriver said about watching Martina Navratilova exit Wimbledon for the final time.

Together they had won five Wimbledon women's doubles titles and 74 others in their careers.

"I thought about what we'd been through together and what she'd been through and that she'd never be there again," Shriver said. "We caught eyes, and I gave her a thumbs up. She lost the match, but she's a great champion, and when I saw her after she came off the court and had had a moment with Diana, I gave her a hug. It was very emotional, and she said, 'What are you crying for. I'm the one retiring.'

"But it's like a passage, isn't it?"

As Shriver stood outside the women's locker room, with a water bottle on her right elbow and an ice pack on her right shoulder, she said she is going to take time to cut down her summer schedule.

"There were some real low points on this trip," Shriver said. "But I guess there are going to be some of those on every trip from now on. Still, I feel pretty good right now."

She played 12 matches in women's singles, women's and mixed doubles and finished with a 9-3 record.

But the smile probably had more to do with wanting to get back to the Royal Box and her Australian friend.

"Tony's coming back to Baltimore with me for a week," Shriver said. "And Monday, the Fourth of July, at 5 p.m., we'll be at Oriole Park celebrating my birthday. Tell the Orioles to win for me."

Full house

The Royal Box was full of celebrities yesterday. Not only were the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Princess Di and son William there, but so were Alistair Cooke, South African vice president F. W. de Klerk and American ambassador Adm. William Crowe.

And up there about 10 rows behind the Royal seats, was a tanned, relaxed Johnny Carson, sporting collar-length white hair.

Double double

The Australian doubles team of Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde defended their championship with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-1 win over Grant Connell and Patrick Galbraith.

On the women's side, Gigi Fernandez and Natalia Zvereva won their third straight Wimbledon women's doubles title. The win, after victories in the Australian and French opens, keeps their 1994 Grand Slam drive alive with only the U.S. Open remaining.

Gold dust

The run of Rockville's Paul Goldstein and partner Scott Humphries at the boys doubles title ended yesterday. No. 1 seeds Ben Ellwood and Mark Philippoussis won a semifinals match, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Ellwood-Philippoussis play No. 7 seeds Vladimir Platenik and Ricardo Schlachter for the title today.

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