With heavy heart, Rogers falls at Wimbledon

Charleston tennis pro Shelby Rogers wrote “Charleston” on her shoes in memory of the nine people killed at Emanuel AME Church. (Photo provided)

The day after the shootings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, pro tennis player Shelby Rogers posted this on Twitter:

“Heartbroken for my city. Praying for the victims, families, friends, & this world (because) things like this just can’t happen. #CharlestonShooting.”

Rogers lost her first-round match at Wimbledon in London on Monday afternoon, falling 6-0, 6-0 to No. 14 Andrea Petkovic of Germany. She did so with a brace on her right knee and with her hometown of Charleston on her mind.

“It’s tough being so far away,” Rogers told espnW before the match. “All I can do is send up my prayers and watch my city continue to be strong.”

In matches leading up to Wimbledon, Rogers wore shoes with the word “Charleston” printed on them. Wimbledon’s strict rules on all-white attire do not allow her to wear those shoes during the Grand Slam tournament.

Rogers told espnW that she’s not surprised at the reaction in Charleston to the June 17 Emanuel AME shootings, which left nine victims dead. She said she watched the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney online.

“It’s nice to see people react in such a positive way and help heal each other and forgive each other and come together and move forward with love instead of more negativity coming upon the city,” she said.

“Growing up there, the community has always been very close-knit and very loving and very caring and forgiving. I’ve seen that since my childhood, and it’s really nice to see it on such a big public scale so everyone else can see it, too.”

On Monday Against Petkovic, the 2014 Family Circle Cup champion, Rogers lasted just 38 minutes while wearing a heavy brace on her right knee. Petkovic won all 18 of her first-serve points, and came up with 17 winners to just two unforced errors, both in the first set. The 83rd-ranked Rogers, who had lost in straight sets to Petkovic in last month’s opening round of the clay-court French Open, managed nine winners while committing 21 unforced errors.