NEW YORK — Shelby Rogers has been around the tennis tour long enough to know the routine after a big win — and, sadly, what awaits after an ugly loss.
When Sloane Stephens last week shared some of the threatening and vulgar messages she had received on social media after she was knocked out of the U.S. Open, it was shocking to some. But it wasn’t a surprise to Rogers, who said she was going to have “9 million death threats and whatnot” waiting for her on her phone after her surprise run to the round of 16 ended with a disappointing 6-2, 6-1 loss on Monday to British teenager Emma Raducanu.
“I kind of wish social media didn't exist, but here we are,” Rogers said. “It's a big part of marketing now. We have contracts, we have to post certain things. I don't know, you could probably go through my profile right now, I'm probably a fat pig and, you know, words that I can't say right now. But, I mean, it is what it is. You try not to take it to heart, and it's the unfortunate side of any sport and what we do.”
Rogers was trying to take the positive view of her experience at the U.S. Open, which included a remarkable come-from-behind win Saturday over No. 1 seed Ash Barty in the third round. But admittedly, it was hard for Rogers to accept how poorly she played against Raducanu, making 29 unforced errors and at one point losing 11 games in a row.
“That was pretty embarrassing,” said Rogers, a native of Charleston, S.C., who was hoping to make the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the second straight year. “It was a tough day at the office. Unfortunately, I had to fail in front of thousands and thousands of people. So I have to live with that one.
“It's a little — a lot disappointing that I couldn't muster up a little bit more today. But, you know, I told you guys the other night it took everything I had to beat Barty. I guess that was a little apparent today. The tank was a little bit empty. I just have to learn how to take those wins and reset a little better.”
Even though she’s been through it before, Rogers said the difficult part of beating a player like Barty at a Grand Slam is trying to come down emotionally when there are endless congratulations the next day from fans and fellow players who are treating it like she just won a final when, in fact, it was only the third-round.
Though it has been rare for her to advance this far in a Grand Slam, Rogers said she wants to push herself to do more. And, in the meantime, she’ll try to ignore the gamblers and online trolls who attempt to harass and bully her.
“It's really unfortunate, and some of it does get to your head sometimes,” she said. “I mean, they write some true things sometimes for sure, you're up a break and you have another breakpoint. These are facts. But social media can't control what I'm doing and the way my training is going to go moving forward, but I wish it didn't exist. It's really tough.”