February 13, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
S. ROGERS/A. Kontaveit
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Off to the next round of the Australian Open. You must be absolutely ecstatic with that result today. Just talk us through it.
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I'm super excited, fourth round for the first time here. So that's a nice accomplishment.
It was really weird tonight without the fans. We miss you guys a little bit extra tonight, but hopefully everyone is staying safe and, you know, we're doing the right thing here. So we're just fortunate to be able to keep playing and keep going here and giving you guys some entertainment at home during these next few days.
Yeah, but, you know, I thought I played well tonight. I started off missing a few, was a little squirrelly at the beginning but adjusted. There's a little extra space out there on Rod Laver. I had to make a few adjustments. But stayed aggressive and then made a few more first serves, got me out of some trouble there. Happy to get the win.
Q. After watching Jen and Jessica advance, what was that like? Did you feel like, I've got...
SHELBY ROGERS: Woo. Go USA.
Q. Did it inspire you? How did it affect, if at all, how you approached tonight?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, definitely. It's so cool, seeing all these girls I grew up with and we've known each other for so many years, do really well and play some awesome tennis and on the biggest stages. We're all supporting each other. We have some fun chats going on. It's really cool to see us all keep going.
Q. It seems that in a Grand Slam going from the third round to the fourth is a big step. It's a big leap from 32 to 16 in prestige, money. Does that make it harder to get to that second week as opposed to a second round to third round or first round to second? Is there like a barrier that must be overcome?
SHELBY ROGERS: I mean, I think there is this little bit of aura around second week of a slam, is kind of what you're getting at, right? Yeah, it's a really cool accomplishment, for sure.
But for me, and at this point in my career, it's really, as clichÃ© as it is, just one round at a time, because everybody is so good now. You know, there were some crazy first rounds even here. Second rounds, you know, where anybody any day can win.
For me, every win is a really great accomplishment and something I can build on and take a lot of confidence from and learn from and keep building.
So I'm just looking to go one more, one more. But it is extra special to be able to say second week, I guess.
Q. I thought of that, because last night Taylor talked about how he feels he's so close but at the same time so far. You keep knocking on the door and you wonder after a while if it's ever gonna open.
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I think, the further you get in the draw, you play the higher seeds and, you know, on paper the better players. But like I said, the women's game is so deep right now, every match is incredibly tough.
Q. Firstly, how would you describe your matches before with Ash and what you're looking forward to?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, so we just played last week. I said on court that I'm excited we won't have to play a third-set breaker, because she definitely got me in that one, she kicked my butt a little bit.
I'm excited to get another shot. Unfortunately again, you know, the fans won't be there. But maybe that's in my favor this time, the Barty Party won't be present.
I'm excited again to play the best players in the world. That's what we all strive to do every day and you've got to beat the best to be the best. I'm looking forward to that challenge again.
Q. I'm curious, you were playing Anett who was one of the second-to-the-last women left in the draw who had been in the hard quarantine. Jen is the only one of the players who had been in hard quarantine to be able to make it to the fourth round. I'm just wondering what a big challenge you think that was and how it was to get through and what it says about Jen that she was the last woman standing from that group of players?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, Jen. Jen's tough, you know. I mean, obviously it gave me a lot of perspective being able to practice a few hours a day during that process. I don't think it was easy for anyone, but I can't imagine or speak to what those players went through.
That's an incredible accomplishment that, you know, they can be proud of themselves for getting towards. I remember seeing some of the players after, I'm, like, I'm so proud of you, congratulations.
Yeah, I mean, I really don't know what that's like. I have a couple players in the rooms next to me that were stuck in their rooms. I'd walk by and say, Hi, guys. They were like, It's so nice to have some interaction.
It's a unique situation for everyone, so more power to Jen. Keep going. Good for her. And I think it's really mental at this point, right? Hopefully I never have to go through that and experience it, I'll say that (smiling).
Q. Ahead of your match against Ash last week, you said, Oh, I'm looking forward to it because she killed me the last time, and then you obviously took her, got the set off her and it was incredibly competitive.
SHELBY ROGERS: One step at a time.
Q. So that's my question. What did you kind of get out of the match against her last week that you'll be able to take into this next one?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, I mean, I think aside from just playing matches and being competitive again to start the year, you know, having felt her game a little bit, felt her serve, you just have a better idea of what to expect going into the next one, I think. But you still have to execute and do the right things and play some of my best tennis to beat the best player in the world right now.
So, yeah, I'm familiar with her game and, you know, how it felt a little bit, so that's a plus. But gotta go out there and do it.
Q. How does the time difference affect the way people who are your family and friends interact with you during the tournament, watch you? And if you have a favorite story to share that illustrates that, that would be great.
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah, it's definitely tough. I was talking to my family, my sister. My brother-in-law set his alarm to wake up. My mom woke up. My trainer Richard Woodruff (phonetic) set his alarm, and my boyfriend and my sister are, like, No, we're sleeping in. There's no chance we're gonna watch you (laughter).
So I think, yeah, it's definitely a challenge. You know, I try to communicate as much as I can with them, but it's pretty much complete opposite, so we do the best we can and everybody understands what's going on.
But they are definitely making a lot of sacrifices to support me and watch me play. I think it was a 3:30 alarm maybe today? I mean, I really felt the love there.
Q. As you mentioned, you and Jessie and Jen have known each other for a very long time. I'm curious from your perspective how similar and how different are the three of you personality-wise?
SHELBY ROGERS: I think we're all a little bit different and quirky in our own ways. I'd like to think we all have a really good sense of humor. We're always laughing when we're together and genuinely all enjoying it out here on the tour. I think that speaks volumes to why we are playing so well, just able to adapt and adjust to everything that's been thrown at us over the last year and enjoy most of it. You know, because you have to at this point and just expect anything and the changes that come with it.
Q. What are the odds that you are still playing at this level when you are 39, like Serena?
SHELBY ROGERS: Oh, I can't even think about that right now. That's 11 years away. Yeah, what she's been able to accomplish is absolutely incredible, because some days I wake up now and I'm, like, Okay, I'm not 21 anymore.
So, yeah, she's in incredible shape and amazing athlete. If my body allows it, I would love to keep playing as long as I can.
Q. Is part of what amazes you that it's not like she was a late bloomer. I mean, she was a teenage phenom who has still been able to maintain her love and longevity, you know.
SHELBY ROGERS: Oh, yeah, her and Venus are such an inspiration, especially as an American to just see what they have done for the game, and they have been so helpful to grow the game and give us this opportunity to compete on a stage like this for, you know, that amount of prize money and just have this experience.
So we definitely owe a lot to them, and it's still amazing to watch them compete. Like I said, so inspiring. Yeah, absolutely incredible to keep the love for the game, the wins going, and really phenomenal.
Q. Kind of like the motivation, too?
SHELBY ROGERS: Yeah. Yeah, like what do you get excited about practicing tomorrow? I'm going to ask them that, yeah. It's so genuine, too, from them. It's really incredible.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports