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June 8, 2016

Shelby Rogers

BRENDAN McINTYRE: Thank you, everyone, for getting on the call today, and a special thank‑you to Shelby for calling in. As everyone is aware, Shelby is coming off of her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal run just at the French Open, where she lost to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza.
In addition, just yesterday it was announced that Shelby had committed to play at the 2016 Connecticut Open, the WTA tournament that concludes the Emirates Airlines US Open Series.
So at this time let's open it up for questions.

Q. Shelby, what is Sabra saying about all this new excitement?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, she's super excited for me. We're really close. We talk pretty much every day, and she's been posting a lot of stuff on her Facebook, and I think she's gotten me a bunch of new fans, too, at her work and around Charleston, things like that. So it's really nice to share that with her.

Q. Where is she at?
SHELBY ROGERS: She's in Charleston. She works in Charleston.

Q. How is Mallorca?
SHELBY ROGERS: Mallorca is absolutely stunning. It's very beautiful here. Nice, sunny, warm weather, right on the beach. Gosh, it's basically a little mini‑vacation.

Q. What's your new goal?
SHELBY ROGERS: I mean, you know, at the beginning of the year, my goal was to make it into the Slams this summer, so I definitely reset those goals. I'd like to finish the year top 75 for sure. Top 50 would be amazing. So I'm definitely trying to be realistic but still push myself at the same time and just try to keep the momentum going this year.

Q. I'm just curious, obviously coming off the success you had in Roland Garros comes a lot of the new attention. Are you feeling any of that pressure going into Wimbledon, and if you are, how are you dealing with it?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, it definitely has been a lot different. There's been a lot of media, a lot of attention, like you said. But it's not so bad since I'm here in Europe. I think if I were in the States it might be a little different. You know, I have to do things like this conference call. I guess it's not so easily accessible.
But then there's also the surface change going from red clay to grass, so I think that alleviates some of the pressure coming off of the French, where on grass a lot of players that you don't see maybe on the clay come out with their different strengths, big serves, big ground strokes, things like that, so it's kind of a little different dynamic, which is kind of cool and exciting, and like I said, alleviates some of the pressure.

Q. And you did just mention the change from clay to grass. Do you feel that your game is more comfortable on grass, a little bit better?
SHELBY ROGERS: I mean, I haven't played too many matches on grass, but I definitely enjoy it. It's a whole different game. There's a lot of slices, a lot of short balls, more play at the net, things like that. But I think the big servers definitely have an advantage, so I'd like to hopefully keep my good serves going and maybe get some free points in my matches.

Q. For the first time in I guess a little while, the past three majors champions have all been first‑time champions. Did that give you any kind of optimism?
SHELBY ROGERS: Absolutely. I think it's a great time for women's tennis. Anybody any given day can kind of win. It's really exciting to be a part of that and to have that confidence that I can beat these girls. I can be in the top, and it's sort of a changing of the guard, if you will. You have a lot of the younger players coming in, becoming more comfortable, some players moving out, retiring, things like that, so it's a really cool thing to be a part of for sure.

Q. I don't know if you heard, it just came through about an hour ago, the hearing with Maria Sharapova, she just was banned for two years for testing positive. I was just curious if you had any kind of opinion on the matter.
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I saw the news. It's so recent, I really didn't get a chance to read into it. I'm not really comfortable commenting on it quite yet, but I'll definitely look more into it and see what's going on there.
BRENDAN McINTYRE: Everyone, we appreciate the fact that the relevant question had to be asked, but that's all that Shelby is going to comment on about that situation at this time. If we can move on to some other topics, that would be great.

Q. I wanted to ask about the decision to come to Connecticut before the U.S.Open. What was sort of your thought process there, and what are you looking to get out of playing at the Connecticut Open?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, it'll be my first time playing there. I think it's a really great event. I've heard only good things from players that have been there, and you know, like any other Slam, it's always nice to play a tournament right before to try to get some momentum, to try to play some matches before going straight into the big tournament. I'm super excited to play, and I'm excited for the opportunity to get some matches before the Open.

Q. Shelby, I'm going to be focusing on a story down the road on you playing for the Aviators, and I'm sure that is every bit as much important as playing Wimbledon, sarcasm implied there. Why do you want to play World Team Tennis?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I think World Team Tennis is great. It's a chance to get a lot of matches in a pretty short amount of time. It's also a really fun thing to do. I made that decision earlier this year, and was just kind of looking for some more time on court. I've only played it a couple times before for just some substitute matches. I've never actually done the full season. So it's just something new, something exciting, and yeah, I'm looking forward to playing.

Q. Forgive me for not knowing this; I didn't do my homework at the last minute. Why did you not play the Aussie? Were you injured?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I had a couple injuries at the end of last year, and I just didn't feel ready to go straight into the Slam at the beginning of the year, so I chose to play some smaller tournaments and kind of work my way back the smartest way I could. And thankfully it's paid off this year. It was a very hard decision, though.

Q. Obviously you went to the round of 16 in the US Open; next Slam, get to the quarters of the French; two obviously very completely different surfaces. Where is your confidence at right now?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, it's pretty high. I mentioned before, though, that the change of surface now going from the red clay to the grass kind of changes the dynamic a little bit. Definitely a whole different game going onto the grass. I don't want to say it's reset. I'm still confident. But it's just kind of a restart. It's a whole different season. The grass is very different. I'm looking to build that back up on the grass.

Q. I know you said the change of surface represents a new challenge, but can you maybe identify some general positives that you can take from those wins against other seeded players at the French, Pliskova, Kvitova, Begu, and things that you can use going forward regardless of the surface?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, absolutely. I was feeling really good about my serve during the French Open. It got me out of some tough situations. Like against Pliskova had an ace on match point, which was a really cool thing, so just that confidence from the serving, especially going onto the grass where you have to have a really big server's mentality. It's all about holding your serve, trying to get a look at a break. So I think that'll be very important.

Q. Why is the Connecticut Open a good fit for you as you gear up for the last Grand Slam of the year, and not sure how much you know about the area, New Haven itself, but anything in particular that you're looking forward to about the experience?
SHELBY ROGERS: It's always exciting for me to come to a new place. I've never been there before, so that brings a whole lot of excitement for me. And as well as preparing for the U.S.Open, just trying to get some matches, trying to get that momentum going into the Slam. Like I said, before all of the other Slams throughout the year, I try to play tournaments before and get matches and feel comfortable on the surface, stuff like that, so yeah, I'm really looking forward to it.

Q. Shelby, I know you've talked a little bit about how the media has been giving you more attention and you've gotten more attention within the tennis world. I'm just kind of curious what your everyday life has been like since this run and maybe how it's changed. Obviously you had a huge following in Charleston but now you've got a bigger following around the country, around the world. I'm kind of curious how your everyday life has changed.
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I think it has a little bit. There's been a lot more scheduling going on, trying to schedule media around practices and training and recovery, stuff like that. I think that's been the biggest difference, just time management, trying to fit everything in while traveling and being over here in Spain with the time difference. It's been a little bit challenging, but it's been a lot of fun, actually, at the same time.

Q. What's it been like to I would assume get so many more fans? Have you been overwhelmed by that response at all?
SHELBY ROGERS: I would say overwhelmed in a good way. It's been such positive feedback that I've received, and it's so humbling to read everyone's comments and all the messages they've sent. So yes, overwhelming, but in a very good way.

Q. Talking about that attention that you've received, have your Twitter followers gone up from 4,000 to 400,000? Can you give examples of how that attention has gone up?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I think I've gotten a couple thousand extra followers. To be honest, I'm not huge into the social media. Like it's a fun thing, but I was never really one to post a bunch of stuff. I would occasionally, but now that people actually look at what I'm posting, it's a little more intriguing and it's a little more exciting.

Q. Have you ever been to San Diego?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yes, I have. I played the Girls' National Tournament there in San Diego, and I've been to the zoo, so I know it's an amazing city, and I'm super excited to go back and spend some time there. It's a very unique city, and it's absolutely beautiful, so I'm looking forward to it.

Q. I think 14 Americans now are within the top 100 of the WTA rankings. Can you maybe speak to the continued growth of American tennis, especially with some of the younger up‑and‑coming players?
SHELBY ROGERS: Absolutely, yeah. I think it's a really amazing thing to be a part of. There's a lot of us Americans that are doing super well, and we're all kind of pushing each other. We're all cordial. We're all friends. We like to hang out with each other. We see each other at tournaments. We can laugh and have a good time, and that sort of friendly competition is really a great thing for us. It's a very positive thing but helps all of us and pushes us all. We generally want each other to do well, and when we see each other doing well, we want to do well ourselves. So it's a really great thing to be a part of, and I'm so happy to be in that group with them.

Q. What do you have to do to move to an even higher level on the tour in women's tennis?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I think the most important thing is being consistent throughout the year, not having just a couple great tournaments but being able to have a lot of great tournaments throughout the year and keep your results pretty consistent week in and week out. I think that's a huge thing.

Q. Is there one thing that you need to work on?
SHELBY ROGERS: I'm not sure I can pinpoint just one thing. I think it's important for me to continue to focus on my body and stay healthy because that's been something that's hurt me in the past, injuries, stuff like that, so I definitely want to keep a huge focus on that.

Q. How high in the rankings do you think you can go?
SHELBY ROGERS: Well, I think everyone's goal is to be No.1, and if you don't think you can get there, then maybe you should stop training. I'm working my butt off. I'm trying to do everything I can to get to the top, and that's where I want to play. That's what I've wanted to do since I was a little girl.

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