Q&A: Checking in with Shelby Rogers

There really is no other tournament like the Volvo Car Open on the WTA Tour. But for Shelby Rogers, the event has an extra special feel; it’s her chance to visit home each year.

Born in Mount Pleasant and having her family living right around the corner from the Volvo Car Stadium on Daniel Island for the last decade,
Rogers, 24, sleeps in her own bed for her week of play each year at the event.

“It’s a nice week for me just to be able to see friends and family and my parents,” she said in an interview. “I only get to go home three or four times a year, if I’m lucky. It’s not very often. I’m always on the go headed to different places.”

Where she has been headed in the recent past in her career is up. Earlier this year she reached a career-high No. 48 in the world and last June she made the quarterfinals of the French Open, the first American (other than Venus and Serena Williams) to do so in more than 10 years.

“That’s the best result of my career,” she said. “It was at a Grand Slam and it was such a massive deal. It was something I expected in my career, but expecting it and living it out are two very different things. There are a lot of things that come with it, but you can’t know how you’re going to handle those things until you’re in that situation.”

Rogers faced a rocky road in 2016 after that run, but said she learned how to alter her expectations and not set goals too low or too high. She began 2017 with a shocking win in the first round of the Australian Open over world No. 4 Simona Halep. Rogers has always had the ability to produce big results, but more time on tour has allowed her to understand how to harness her talent and nerves. In 2015 she finally managed to win her first main draw match at the Volvo Car Open, a victory she said was more mental than anything else.

“When I’m playing at home, the pressure isn’t from anyone else other than myself,” Rogers explained. “I want to perform well for all of my
friends and family.”

That recent success has opened more doors: In February she made her Fed Cup debut for the U.S., an offer from captain Kathy Rinaldi that Rogers said brought tears to her eyes.

Rogers is feeling more and more settled on tour, but said there is nothing like a week at home in a career that is spent on the road.

“The draw is always very tough in Charleston, but I’m looking forward to another great event,” she said.

And she’s looking forward to some of her mom’s collared greens and mac and cheese, too. Can you blame her?