Getting To Know... Shelby Rogers
Published August 07, 2014 12:13
MONTRÉAL, Canada - She may not have lost two toes in a car crash, be in possession of a skydiving license or live up to the other outlandish entries in her faux Wikipedia page, but Shelby Rogers still has an interesting story to tell.
Having passed up the opportunity to go to college, Rogers spent her late teens and early 20s plying her trade at some of tennis' less-salubrious locations. However, a summer surge, highlighted by a surprise runner-up finish in Bad Gastein, has sent the young American shooting up the rankings.
She continued her impressive run of results at this week's Rogers Cup, coming through qualifying and then ripping up the script at Eugenie Bouchard's homecoming party. When she wasn't busy upsetting the locals, Rogers spared a few minutes to discuss that win and dispel a few internet myths in the company of wtatennis.com.
Firstly, what was it like facing - and beating - Eugenie Bouchard in front of that crowd?
SR: The experience was unbelievable. The atmosphere was pretty crazy - she had the whole stadium going nuts - and one that I'll never forget.
How did you get into tennis?
SR: My older sister played and I started when I was about four - I kind of wanted to be like my big sister, so followed her into it. I kept practicing because I had this dream that I wanted to be a pro tennis player and here I am!
Can you tell us a little bit about your family?
SR: My sister's name is Sabra. She's a psychologist now and played tennis for four years at Emory University. She recently got married, so that was exciting. Her wedding was in May and that was a fun event to be part of, you know - I think I cried more than she did! My mom's name is Starley and she's one of my biggest fans and biggest supporters and has been unbelievable throughout my whole career. My stepfather's name is Jim, he's here with me this week and it's been fun having him here. He used to play pro football, so it's cool to have another professional mindset there. I have a wonderful support group and my family's been behind me my whole life, encouraging me the whole way. I'm very lucky.
What's your current coaching situation?
SR: I've actually just moved home. I was with the USTA in Boca for a while - they were unbelievable. I was there for about four years and they helped me so much to improve my game, my fitness and every aspect of my career. But I'm very excited to be home and back with the family and friends. Hopefully it's onwards and upwards in the next step of my career. Now my coach is Bryan Minton. He was my first coach when I was seven, so it's pretty cool to be back with him.
How would you describe your playing style?
SR: I'm definitely an aggressive player - I think everyone could tell you that! I like to be controlling the points when I can. When my serve is on it can make it a good day. I have a lot of things to improve but I'll keep working at it.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
SR: I really enjoyed watching Steffi Graf and to be honest I liked men's tennis a little more. Roger Federer - I think I'm in love with him! Roger's still definitely top of the list, for sure.
What are your goals for your career?
SR: I think they've probably changed a little bit recently. I guess the most recent goal was to break into the Top 100, so I'm very happy to accomplish that. And another big goal was to make US Open main draw, which I did as well. It's very exciting accomplishing goals. I'm always resetting, though, so daily goals, short-term goals, all of that, is very important to keep you motivated.
Do you have a favorite surface or tournament?
SR: I've always liked clay a little bit. You know, my best results have been on clay. Bad Gastein is obviously going to be one of my favorite tournaments now and the Family Circle Cup is unbelievable - they always do such a great job with that. And the US Open, too - nothing really compares!
Can you talk a little bit more about the Family Circle Cup?
SR: It's my hometown tournament, so all the fans come out and it's fun to have them all behind you and supporting you. It's also nice to know that when you go on the road they're also supporting you, following your matches and your successes. It's really nice to go back to that home base.
How far did you go in your education?
SR: I did not go to college. So I graduated high school and went through the whole college process and was thinking about it but felt I had to give myself a chance on the tour and go back to school later.
What do you like to do for fun?
SR: Big fan of music, live music - concerts are great. I think like all tennis players, I'm a movie buff, because we have so much down time.
Do you have any favorite musicians?
SR: I'm a big country music fan, for sure. Growing up in South Carolina I've always been around the country music scene.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
SR: Weird. Interesting, maybe that's a better word! I think when I first meet people, they think one thing, and then when they get to know me they just think I'm a little quirky. I like to have a good time, keep things light. I guess funny would be another word. Or sarcastic. I dunno!
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?
SR: Johnny Depp would be cool to meet.
If not tennis, what career would you have chosen?
SR: A chef.
Is there anything else you'd like people to know about you?
SR: This is kind of interesting. So there was a Wikipedia page that was out and it wasn't true. It was just a bunch of funny things and reporters took it seriously for a while and it was kind of funny. What was in there? That I lost two toes, that I was in a car crash, I had a skydiving license. Somebody's changed it now, so it's pretty boring again, but for a while I sounded really fun on Wikipedia.