SHELBY ROGERS DAY
What: Tennis Block Party
Where: Family Circle tennis complex, Daniel Island
When: Saturday, 10 a.m. – noon
Shelby Rogers has taken a page out of Billie Jean King’s book “Pressure is a Privilege.”
And it’s obviously paying off for the 20-year-old tennis pro from Daniel Island. At three different times, Rogers has played what turned out to be winner-take-all matches for a berth in the main draw of one of tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments.
She’s 3 for 3 in such situations, the latest coming two weeks ago in the final of a $50,000 U.S. Pro Circuit event in Lexington, Ky.
“I enjoy the pressure,” Rogers said Monday from the USTA training center in Boca Raton, Fla., calling attention to Billie Jean’s philosophy.
Now ranked a career-high No. 132 in the world, Rogers is preparing for her second appearance in the main draw of the U.S. Open. On her way to New York this weekend, Rogers will make a stop back home to enjoy the day of a lifetime during Saturday’s “Shelby Rogers Day” in Charleston.
“It’s pretty special. I definitely didn’t expect it,” she said. “I’ll be there . . . and ready. It’s awesome.”
A city official will make the on-court presentation at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Family Circle Tennis Center, according to Family Circle director Rob Eppelsheimer. Rogers also will be available for autographs and photos.
Rogers’ appearance will be the centerpiece of the seventh annual Tennis Block Party at the Family Circle complex from 10 a.m. to noon.
“We want to get all of Charleston to come out and support Shelby and send her off to the U.S. Open,” Eppelsheimer said.
After winning a wild card into the 2010 U.S. Open by capturing the national junior championship, Rogers outdueled all comers this spring in a three-tournament segment of the U.S. Pro Circuit to earn a berth in the main draw of the French Open. Following her initial Grand Slam tournament win in Paris, she repeated her earlier success by sweeping past all rivals in a three-tournament U.S. Pro Circuit segment at Yakima, Wash., Portland, Ore., and Lexington, Ky.
“The atmosphere at the U.S. Open is one of a kind. I think I’ll be more prepared this year. I have gained a lot of experience this year. A lot of good things are happening to me,” she said.
Rogers earned a wild card into qualifying for this week’s WTA Tour event in Cincinnati, but she suffered a three-set loss to Annika Beck of Germany in the first round of qualifying.