Shelby Rogers will be a full-time tennis player and part-time concierge this weekend.
What: Qualifying roundsWhere: Family Circle Tennis CenterWhen: Today (matches begin at 10 a.m.) and Sunday (begin at 1 p.m.)Tickets: $10 each dayInformation: (843) 849-5308 or familycirclecup.comScheduleALTHEA GIBSON COURT10 a.m.J Craybas (USA) vs J Pegula (USA)[WC] V Duval (USA) vs P Ormaechea (ARG)S Rogers (USA) vs G Min (USA)K Pliskova (CZE) vs A Riske (USA)COURT 310 a.m.M Burdette (USA) vs V Solovyeva (RUS)S Karatantcheva (KAZ) vs C Castano (COL)T Pereira (BRA) vs J Elie (USA)P Goncalves (BRA) vs I Falconi (USA)COURT 4 10 a.m.M Larcher de Brito (POR) vs [WC] H Carter (USA)A Barty (AUS) vs N Burnett (ITA) E Bouchard (CAN) vs K Maosi (HUN)A Rodionova (RUS) vs V King (USA)COURT 510 a.m.[WC] L Chirico (USA) vs Y Beygelzimer (UKR)S Zhang (CHN) vs P Rampre (SLO)[WC] S Marand (USA) vs C Garcia (FRA)K Pliskova (CZE) vs C Scholl (USA)
The 20-year-old Daniel Island resident will play in today’s Family Circle Cup qualifier and is bidding to make the main draw, which commences Monday.
It’s no secret on the WTA Tour that Rogers is a Lowcountry native and knows the hot spots for fine dining and shopping.
“Everybody asks, ‘Where’s the best place to shop? Where’s the best place to eat?’ ” Rogers said. “I know the spots. But when it comes to restaurants, I tell them they have to be specific because there are so many great places to eat.”
Rogers is in a great place. She grew up dreaming of life on the WTA Tour. She was a ball girl in 2001 when the Family Circle Cup made its debut in Charleston, and presented ’01 champion Jennifer Capriati with a bouquet of flowers.
She played in her first Family Cup qualifier in 2010 and lost a three-set decision to fellow American Christina McHale in front of approximately 2,500 fans at Althea Gibson Club Court.
The next year, Rogers reached the main event. She grew up in the shadow of the Stadium Court and made it her stage in a first-round match against Jill Craybas. Rogers took the first set but succumbed to the veteran, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0.
“That was a great moment,” Rogers said. “I had friends, family and the whole crowd behind me. But I had so many emotions. People don’t realize what runs through your mind. You are living your dream, but the emotion and enormity of the situation can overwhelm you.”
Rogers returns home hoping to jump start her season. She is 0-4 on the WTA Tour and has won only $5,563 in 2013 to push her career earnings to $80,010. She says playing in her hometown gives her some advantages.
“I’m five minutes from home,” she said. “I can get a good, home-cooked meal, sleep in my bed and drive my car. It makes me a little more relaxed.”
Her career highlight came in 2010 when she received a wild-card entry into the U.S. Open, but was defeated by Peng Shuai, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.
“It was incredible to play in a Grand Slam event,” Rogers said. “But other than winning a Grand Slam, winning the Family Circle Cup would be the most amazing thing. To have a whole city behind you is incredible.”
Rogers knows this year’s field is stacked with heavyweights. There are six past Cup champions in the field — Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Sabine Lisicki, Jelena Jankovic, Sam Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki.
“Anytime you are in a tournament, you play to win,” Rogers said. “I will do the best I can, but I can’t put too much pressure on myself.”
Qualifying matches begin today at 10 a.m. Tickets are $10.
World No. 7 Sara Errani withdrew from the Family Circle Cup due to a right thigh injury.
Errani was to make her second appearance in Charleston.
“I’m very disappointed to have to withdraw from a great event like Charleston,” said Errani. “During my doubles match (in Miami on Friday) in the second set we had one long point and I thought the adductor was not feeling right.”