Many of the biggest moments in Shelby Rogers' tennis career have come on clay courts. First WTA Tour quarterfinal, semifinal and final. And initial Grand Slam tournament victory.
Shelby loves clay. She grew up on the green variety known as Hard-Tru at Family Circle Tennis Center and the old Players Club.
But she isn't just a clay-courter. In fact, she isn't a clay-courter at all.
Rogers has a hard-court game. With the U.S. Open coming up in a little over a month, who knows what might happen.
There is no reason to believe Shelby couldn't win two or three rounds on the hard courts at Flushing Meadows - or more. It just depends on her draw, staying away from the big guns in the early rounds. But the 21-year-old pro has proven that she can handle a certain type of top 20 players while climbing to a career-high No. 104 world ranking.
Perhaps, there is no more of a pure clay-courter in the women's game than Sara Errani. Carla Suarez Navarro isn't too far behind.
Of course, Rogers scored straight-set victories over No. 14 Errani and No. 16 Navarro in her run to the final of the recent $250,000 red-clay event in Bad Gastein, Austria.
Rogers can't explain her success on clay courts.
"I play the same game (on hard courts and clay courts). I can't really change that much," she said Friday while taking a few days off back home on Daniel Island.
The breakout in Austria was just timing. It was time for Shelby to make a move.
She is a gambler who can knock the cover off the ball. She goes for the lines. Her serve matches the rest of her game. Everything starts out and depends on her serve.
When Rogers is "on," and her serve is working, she is extremely dangerous. Obviously, she was on in Austria.
So, if Rogers is "on" at the U.S. Open, she could do some damage with the seeds. A round of 16 appearance might not be out of the question. She has the game to pull it off.
First, Rogers will be off to Washington, D.C., late next week to compete in the main draw of the $250,00 Citi Open as the summer hard-court season heats up. Rogers decided not to defend her title next week in the $50,000 tournament in Lexington, Ky., when she gained entry into the Washington main draw.
She plans to attempt to qualify for the Rogers Cup's big 56-player draw in Montreal in early August and possibly Cincinnati the following week. Both tournaments are in the $2.5 million purse range.
The popular Charleston Pro Tennis League will return for an eight-week season of Friday night programs on Sept. 5 after taking a year off when co-founder Chris Henderson relocated to Florida last year.
Former College of Charleston coach Phil Whitesell is the CPTL's new commissioner. Whitesell lists I'On, Dunes West, Maybank Tennis Center, Seabrook Island, Park West and Family Circle Tennis Center among the host sites.
The Fisher House Charleston Classic Tennis Tournament is scheduled for Aug. 8-10 at the College of Charleston complex at Patriot's Point. Competition will be in mixed doubles and combo doubles. Registration is available online at www.Charlestonclassic.org. The tournament will benefit Fisher House Charleston.
The demolition of the Jack Adams Tennis Center's six courts is underway in preparing to rebuild the complex, according to city tennis manager Peggy Bohne.
The Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association and Trident Academy were among the 46 community tennis and education organizations receiving grants from USTA Serves, which is the charitable foundation of the USTA. USTA Serves awarded a total of $429,000 in grants nationwide.
The new MWTennis Academy at Family Circle Tennis Center is concentrating on branding for its participants along with the team concept for its coaches. "We're establishing a culture at MWTennis. We want the program to be known for its quality and culture," CEO Jeff Wilson said. "MWTennis players will be easy to identify at tournaments. They will be wearing our shirts and caps (with the wolf mascot logo)."
Maybank Tennis Center's cabana project for its clay courts is moving along. Ike Smith of the fund-raising committee reported that the fund-raising drive has been successful. The structures have been ordered and installation on court Nos. 9, 10, 11 and 12 will start soon. Donations are still being accepted at Maybank Tennis Center or online at www.charleston-sc.gov to fund a similar cabana for court 13.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com. See his latest columns on Wimbledon and Grand Slam Tennis at www.ubitennis.com/english/tag/james-beck
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