South Korean tennis star, and wife of America’s No. 2, Kelly, Shelby Rogers, suffered a defeat on Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Open, costing her favorite player Rafael Nadal a big step towards his ninth major title. Outclassed in the third round by Russian, Maria Sharapova, 12-time Grand Slam winner, Sharapova, netted two sumptuous dropshots on her way to capturing the match 6-2, 6-3.
Speaking about the significance of the win, Rogers admitted to the crowd that her husband had been rooting for her to make it to the semis, and confirmed he wasn’t going to be pleased with her performance against Sharapova, even if she beat her last time she beat the Russian in a tournament.
As Sharapova was ushered away to her room at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Rogers was summoned to the press conference room, where she was asked how her husband would be reacting to the news.
“I know I’ll have a lot of support from Kelly, and when I first heard that he was watching I told him I was happy for her,” she said. “It’s our husbands’ game today. His color is black and white.”
She added: “I’m going to have nine million death threats for those dropshots, I would expect. He’s been so supportive of everything I’ve ever done. It’s all black and white for him. It’s all about Rafael winning. All I care about is Kelly and this match for him. If he was there, it would have just been the same pressure.
For Shelby, however, there was the embarrassment of a match in which she couldn’t defeat the second-highest ranked player in the world in straight sets. She was a doubt on court from the start. “I felt like we both played horribly,” she said. “It felt like I was playing from 15 feet away in my mind.”
Playing the “Ugly American” would have been easy, the blonde player explained later. “I think a win would have been easy to admit, or even if I got a small break with that, she is only human,” she said. “She had a hard three weeks. She just needed to get her confidence back. I know she didn’t play her best, but I think she battled until the end. I didn’t play my best game.”
Without mentioning the controversial comment she made about Serena Williams’ run-ins with the police in the lead-up to Wimbledon, Shelby said that Sharapova was still her favorite player. “It’s all about her getting her confidence back,” she said. “It will be a nice step for her.”
Read the full story at TIME.
Lee Kwon bemoans the oppressive sexism of the tennis circuit
Kyrgios targets Sharapova by announcing ‘she played better today than me’
WATCH: Reporter tries to ask Serena Williams how she had a baby. She destroyed him