The basketball scouting report on President Obama says the slender left-hander has good court awareness and can hit the open jumper.
Charleston’s Shelby Rogers can report that the President knows his way around a tennis court, as well.
“He’s good,” Rogers said this week at the Volvo Car Open. “He’s got a little lefty slice. His footwork is exceptional, so props to him. It was mini-tennis, but you could tell he knew what he was doing.”
Rogers and fellow WTA Tour pro Sloane Stephens got a chance to hit with Obama when they were invited to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll last month.
“It was so cool, a last-minute thing,” Rogers said. “My agent asked me if I wanted to do it, and I said, ‘Why are you even asking? Of course I want to.’ My mom was able to go with me, so it was really special.”
A small court was set up on the White House lawn, and the President traded shots with some children.
“Barack came out to this little two-court setup and hit with us and the kids,” Rogers said. “He was very nice and personable, went around and shook hands with everyone.”
So Shelby, you and the President are on a first-name basis?
“Yeah, we’re best friends,” Rogers said with a laugh.
Stephens was equally impressed.
“It was amazing,” she said. “President Obama is amazing. I would marry him, I love him so much.”
Not too worry, Sloane met Mrs. Obama, too.
“He was so nice and sweet, and we saw Michelle also,” Stephens said. “She was great, too.”
After losing in the first round at the Australian Open this year, Aussie Samantha Stosur spoke about the pressure and expectations of playing in front of hometown fans. Charleston’s Shelby Rogers, who lost her first-round match at the Volvo Car Open, can certainly relate, if on a smaller scale.
Rogers was visibly frustrated after her three-set loss to Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena on Monday.
“I’ve gotta win the first round, then I might be able to give advice,” Stosur said. “To be honest, there is pressure. It’s just different pressure, because there’s pressure every single week that we play, no matter where we are.
“I think the biggest thing for me is that I’m desperate to do well and play my best tennis right there, right then ... It’s always a challenge, but if you want to try to get through that, you gotta think about what works. Losing early doesn’t always mean you couldn’t handle the moment. Maybe you played somebody who played too well, as well. So I think you can’t get down on yourself, because every match is different.”
ESPN2 coverage of the Volvo Car Open begins Thursday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The same time slot is set for Friday, with Saturday and Sunday coverage from 1 to 3 p.m.
Attendance through Tuesday night at the Volvo Car Open was 30,342, an average of 6,068 per session. That’s just off last year’s average of 6,628 per session, for a total of 86,176. The largest crowd so far was for qualifying on Sunday, with 7,467. Tuesday’s day session drew 7,124 people, and the night matches had 4,526 attendees.