Tennis: Shriver denies she is a racist

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The Independent Online
ZINA GARRISON JACKSON, the former Wimbledon finalist, said she would consider resigning from the board of the Women's Tennis Association after accusing the WTA president, Pam Shriver, of making racist remarks during their hot-tempered quarter-final in the DFS Classic at the Edgbaston Priory Club yesterday.

Shriver, four times a title holder, had several times near the end of a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 defeat lashed the ball angrily off the court and once appeared to swear at the Garrison Jackson entourage at the back.

'She acted like a bitch and that's the truth,' Garrison Jackson alleged. 'I was very surprised that she didn't get a warning from the umpire for the way she hit the ball into the netting. She's really supposed to be setting an example. I think Pam's a good person in her heart but I don't want to be a part of all that because she's supposed to be a leader.

'I'm thinking of resigning from the WTA board. I heard the things she said and I think they were racist, whether she admits it or not. She hit the ball at me and called me stupid. I would never call her stupid. I am now going to give this matter some serious thought.'

Shriver, appearing crestfallen and apologetic 10 minutes later, answered the allegations: 'There are a lot of things about me but I don't have a racist problem. My coach is black. That hurts a little bit, but Zina said it in the heat of the moment and that's just a way of striking back.

'What happened is a bad reflection on me but when I go out there I can't carry the load of every woman tennis player. It will be a loss if Zina resigns from the board.

'I have often had to apologise for what I have done and I used to think I had outgrown a sense of rage but I am 30 now and it still happens.'

Shriver's problems did not end there. As she left the court after her defeat, the Edgbaston Priory chairman, Stuart Johnston, approached her to give her life membership of the club. Shriver snapped 'not now' and walked past him. 'I didn't realise,' she said. 'I still love the club or I wouldn't keep coming here. But before I get my membership I will probably be thrown out of the club. That will be some kind of a first.'