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Podcast 149: Tennis Star Shelby Rogers on Perseverance & Winning Mindset

November 16, 2021

Professional tennis player Shelby Rogers joins the WHOOP Podcast for an in-depth discussion on cultivating a winning mindset, persevering through injury and setbacks, and the inevitability of stress and how we can use it to our advantage.

By Will Ahmed

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Shelby Rogers has been on WHOOP longer than just about anyone. She’s been wearing it since 2016 to help her perform at an elite level, especially while traveling the globe. Shelby talks about her career and how she’s scored upset victories over some of the top players on the planet, including Serena Williams and Ash Barty.

If you missed our announcement last week, WHOOP recently became the Official Fitness Wearable of the WTA, a major development for players and tennis fans. Players can now wear WHOOP in competition, and that means we’ll be bringing you WHOOP Live during tournament broadcasts as well.

Stay healthy and stay in the green!


Tennis Star Shelby Rogers Podcast Quotes & Highlights

3:06 – Getting a Young Start. Shelby started playing tennis at 4 years old, and says she was inspired by her older sister, who played as well. “From a very young age, I wanted to be a professional tennis player,” Shelby says. “As the years went on, it became within reach.”

4:16 – Tennis Over College. Shelby talks about choosing to go pro instead of pursuing a college education. In the process, she passed on a chance for a full scholarship “I just felt in my heart it was the right decision for me. … You can imagine how my mom felt at the time!” Shelby recently completed a college degree.

6:02 – Following Your Gut. Shelby discusses the conviction she had in her decision to turn pro. “I knew 100% it was the right thing for me. I didn’t know for sure that I would be successful, but I knew that I had to at least try. I’m very happy I did. I think it’s an important thing to bet on yourself sometimes. Listen to your gut and listen to what you’re really feeling and what you want to do.”

7:55 – Overcoming Injury. “I had knee surgery in 2018 and six months after that operation I really didn’t think I was going to play again. It was a pretty dark moment for me,” Shelby says. “[But I was] able to work through that and come out of that even stronger. That just gave me renewed motivation.”

11:18 – Gratitude. “I’ve had injuries and things like that, and you just gain so much perspective. But why does it take that massive negative event to gain that? So that’s the challenge, keeping that perspective.”

15:38 – Staying Out of the Red. Shelby has had one red recovery in the last 6 months, something she credits to her consistent sleep schedule and a new probiotic she has been taking.

19:11 – Focusing on the Right Things. Shelby says she’s been reading the book The Happiness Advantage, and shares advice she has taken away from the book. “What we spend our time and mental energy focusing on can become our reality.”

21:12 – Stress. “I think stress is inevitable and I think stress is good. I think it’s necessary. A diamond needs stress. It needs pressure to form,” Shelby says. “Stress isn’t going away. … It’s just figuring out how to not let that derail you and get you off track too much.”

24:25 – Winning Mindset. Shelby says her mantra is WIN: What’s Important Now. “That just helps me think about what my goals are and what I’m trying to do, instead of creating all of these scenarios in your mind that create these massive mountains in front of you that just seemed impossible to overcome.”

33:36 – Nerves. “I get nervous before every single match that I play. You can take that as a negative thing and say, ‘Oh no, I’m nervous. That means I’m not ready. That means I’m doubting myself. That means I’m scared.’ Or you can think, ‘Okay, I’m nervous. That’s my body telling me it’s getting ready. That’s my body saying I care. That’s my body saying I want this more than the other person.’”

39:21 – Learning From Other Tennis Players. Shelby says she tries to pick the brains of other tennis players, both active and retired. “I’m just constantly trying to be in this pursuit of knowledge. I think that is the most important thing for me.”

41:53 – A One-on-One Sport. “Some days what you have to do, if you’re not feeling well, is just be better than [the opponent]. Say it’s a super windy day? All you have to do is handle the wind better than they do. You don’t have to play every one in the tournament that day. So I think tennis is unique in that way, and that’s part of the reason I love the sport. It’s just you out there and what you do directly influences your opponent, which is pretty cool and pretty tough at the same time.”

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Will Ahmed

Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. WHOOP members include professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, fitness enthusiasts, military personnel, frontline workers and a broad range of people looking to improve their performance. WHOOP has raised more than $400 million from top investors and is valued at $3.6 billion, making it the most valuable standalone wearables company in the world. Ahmed has recruited an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. Ahmed was recently named to the 2021 Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 list as well as 2020 Fortune 40 Under 40 Healthcare list and previously named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Ahmed founded WHOOP as a student at Harvard, where he captained the Men’s Varsity Squash Team and graduated with an A.B. in government.