Sister act helps Rogers get it right at Roland Garros
PARIS – Shelby Rogers moved into what is for her unchartered tennis territory on Friday and sent out thanks to her psychologist sister for keeping her sane.
US player Shelby Rogers returns the ball to Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova during their women’s third round match at the Roland Garros 2016 French Tennis Open in Paris on May 27, 2016
The 23-year-old from Charleston, ranked a lowly 108 in the world, shocked two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-0, 6-7 (3/7), 6-0 to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in 10 attempts.
It was, she said, the finest moment of a career which has failed so far to hit many heights.
But it was a performance that she felt had been coming.
“I have been feeling really confident.I have had a couple of good wins here already. I was just trying to focus on my game and do the things that have been working for me in my first rounds,” she said.
“Just focus on what I was doing and try not to think about who I was playing too much, just kind of play the ball.”
The driving force behind that singular approach to the sport, she said came from older sister Sabra, who inspired her to start playing tennis when she was just four years old.
“She’s a psychologist. Funny enough,” she said.
“She has a lot of work with me, but, you know, she keeps me sane. She’s very helpful, for sure.
“Just sister to sister. And we are very close. We talk all the time. She’s very involved with what I’m doing.
“Unfortunately she can’t travel with me all the time. That would be amazing, but she has a life of her own. So she follows as closely as she can. Like I said, we talk, and it’s great
“She tries to keep me in the moment, not thinking about too many things in the past or too many things in the future. And that’s probably what she emphasizes the most.
“We do a lot of journal exercises, things like that, just to kind of clear your mind a little bit. Because like I said before, you know, if too many thoughts get in it’s bad news on the court.”
Next up for Rogers is the Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, the 25th seed, who won a third straight three-setter against Annika Beck of Germany, but who has never managed to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final.
“I was watching her match before I went on. She played before me so I was waiting for the court to open up. I saw a little bit. But strategy later. I want to enjoy this one,” said Rogers.