Shelby Rogers defeats Evegeniya Rodina 6-4, 6-2

Shelby Rogers defeats Evegeniya Rodina 6-4, 6-2

S. Rogers defeats E. Rodina 6-4, 6-2

Q. SHELBY, DID YOU EVER THINK YOU’D BE THAT EMOTIONAL AFTER A MONDAY AFTERNOON WIN?

SHELBY ROGERS: Yes. It’s me. There wouldn’t be any other way I could do it. I think we’ve seen my tears in the past. So I’m not sure many people were surprised by that, including myself, but trying to harness that and get myself together was a little bit tough.

Q. SHELBY, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT WAS GOING ON IN YOUR MIND THIS MORNING GETTING READY FOR THE MATCH AND GETTING READY TO STEP OUT THERE. CAN YOU JUST TALK THROUGH WHAT WAS GOING ON?

SHELBY ROGERS: How much time do you have?

Q. ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD.

SHELBY ROGERS: So last on, yeah, it was a long day of a lot of thoughts, a lot of emotions, a lot of what the heck do I bring on the court. I mean my bag weighed so much today, I brought my whole suitcase on court. I’m like, maybe I’ll need that. I don’t know. I don’t remember. But I woke up this morning super excited, honestly. Just really happy and excited for the opportunity to compete again. And then I couldn’t have written it any better. I’m so happy to come away with the win today in a fairly — not routine, but could have gotten a little messy there a couple of times. So I’m just glad I could close it out.

Q. HOW DID YOU FEEL? I MEAN DID YOU FEEL RELATIVELY BACK TO NORMAL?

SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah. There were some moments during the match where I’m like, okay, I remember feeling this way, some patterns creeping in there that I have practiced on. So I tried to stay focused one point at a time. But there were definitely a lot of other emotions today, which I am not used to. I mean I can’t remember the last time I cried after winning a first set. I mean that’s ridiculous. Kind of embarrassing to be honest. But no, it was a great moment. I enjoyed every second of it even when I got broken and was up 2-0 every set. That’s part of it. All those feelings I missed so much. The adrenaline, the nerves, the excitement, everything, you can’t recreate that outside of that arena, so it was really cool.

Q. SHELBY, WHILE YOU WERE OUT SO LONG, WHAT KIND OF THINGS DID YOU DO TO OCCUPY YOURSELF AND HOLD YOURSELF TOGETHER?

SHELBY ROGERS: That’s a great question. I did have a lot of down time, and I had to learn to be okay with that. It was the longest I’d been in one place for that long. I’m usually in a different place every two, three weeks. With our schedule we travel everywhere. I was in LA doing most of my physical therapy, learning how to be in the same place. But started playing piano again. I picked up a little golf when I got healthy. So I tried to keep myself busy as much as I could, as well as the hours and hours of physical therapy and recovery. But you have to stay sane and keep yourself happy. Otherwise it’s just going to be a very miserable process. I also did some classes online, so definitely stayed busy and kept my mind occupied.

Q. CAN YOU SAY WHAT CLASSES YOU TOOK?

SHELBY ROGERS: Sure. Yeah. I’m actually getting my degree online. The WTA has a program with Indiana University. So it’s fantastic. It’s a great opportunity for us to continue our education while we’re on the road. So I’m majoring in psychology.

I’ve been taking, gosh — this is actually really funny. When I first got injured, I was like, oh, I’m going to have so much time. Let’s take 18 hours of classes. Seemed like a good idea, but got a little burned out. But paid off and it was pretty exciting.

Q. You talked about how you looked to other players for advice when you got injured. Was there anything in particular they all had in common?

SHELBY ROGERS: Yes. That’s a great question. Obviously this is the biggest injury I’ve had in my career. So it’s new territory for me every single week and coming back every step of the way. So the players, No. 1 was don’t come back too soon. Don’t rush it. That was what everyone told me. No. 2 was you’re going to be really sore after your first match, so I’ll be prepared for that and try to get some good recovery in today.

Q. Shelby, seemed like early in your career playing here, seemed like you might have felt a little pressure.

SHELBY ROGERS: Was it that obvious?

Q. Today it was a safe place for you to come back. Can you talk about your evolution of playing here through the years?

SHELBY ROGERS: It’s funny because I’ve talked to other players that have a hometown tournament as well. Not many get that cool experience. But it’s tough. You put all this pressure on yourself, and for no reason really. So I think it was definitely a learning curve growing up here and coming back here learning how to deal with those feelings. And happy to say I’ve figured it out, and so now it’s, like you said, a place of comfort that I can just come back to and feel accepted and welcomed back, and I know they’re going to love me no matter what, whether I play here or on the road throughout the season. So it’s just a really cool thing to have a strong base of support.

Q. I was just going to follow up. Was the Volvo Car Open your intended come back date?

SHELBY ROGERS: Ideally it might have been a smaller tournament to come back to. But it’s pretty storybook. It’s kind of a cool thing, coming back in my hometown. So it’s definitely a really nice moment. Probably not the way I would have hoped, but I mean now it is. Of course, it’s the most amazing moment.

But, yeah, you deal with what you have in the schedule and what tournaments are available, and this just happened to be the right timing when I felt ready and prepared, and I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to take the wild card here. Bob Moran and Eleanor have been great. So I’m glad I could take advantage of that today and get the win.

Q. Going off Jeff’s question about being in the hometown and having the pressure, have you gotten the chance to talk to Emma Navarro? She’s got a stadium court match, tomorrow night for her first. What would you say to her, and have you gotten to talk to her?

SHELBY ROGERS: I haven’t seen her here yet. Just in passing. I haven’t got a chance to talk to her. I saw her dad briefly. They’re just a great family, and they’ve done so much for tennis in this city. So I know she’s going to enjoy it. If I see her tomorrow, maybe I can give her a few words. But I just hope she enjoys the experience because I know what that’s like, and it’s unlike anything you can ever get anywhere else. So I’m excited for her. It’ll be fun.

Q. Shelby, not to go all the way back, back going back to 13 months ago, can you talk through a little bit of like when exactly you obviously had the knee injury, but when it became clear what you were going to have to do to get back on court and what the consequences of that were going to be?

SHELBY ROGERS: So Indian Wells last year was the last match that I played before today. And I just remember being on court knowing something was very wrong, but not wanting to leave the court. I mean I probably should have retired that match, but I just, I think, knew what was coming. And so I came off the court and I went — there’s like a little patio area, and my trainer and my coach came over, and I was like, I don’t want to go see the doctor right now. I know it’s bad. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to do this. I know it’s going to be tough. So I think that moment was really hard, and I got the MRIs and tried nonsurgical routes before, which gave me peace of mind. I did everything I could before getting cut. No athlete wants that. And then met with my surgeon, Riley Williams, who was amazing and just gave me so much confidence in the procedure and how to come back. And so I was very lucky to have a good team around me helping me through those difficult moments.

Q. Shelby, I know you’ve been practicing and working so hard. Is it still different, though, in a match as far as your knee goes?

SHELBY ROGERS: I mean, yeah, I think it’s night and day. There’s no way to really recreate a match setting. I mean I’ve been playing practice matches for months now. But just the feelings, emotions, nerves, excitement, everything, it’s so different, especially in front of this crowd. It’s amazing, but the knee felt great today. So I’m very excited about that, and like I said, get some good recovery in and see how it responds tomorrow. But I think we’re good. I think we’re going to be smooth sailing from here.

Q. Shelby, you’re sort of lucky in the sense that you’ve got the best of the best help. What about the average player or kids that are juniors or adults that are playing recreationally and they have something like this happen? Do you have any advice or feedback or words of encouragement? You already said don’t rush it?

SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah. I think that’s the most important thing. Just listen to your body. There’s really no reason to rush back and try to get back on court before your body says it’s okay. And that’s something I’ve had to maybe learn the hard way is listen to your body. The day you wake up and maybe can’t do everything you did the day before, just be really aware, maybe even hyper aware, because I was for a while. I’m like, oh, it’s hurting. They’re like, calm down, Shelby. It’s okay. But just be really in tune with yourself and listen to your body.

Evgeniya Rodina Shelby Rogers