Today I have another Federer fan story to add to the growing collection on the blog. This one comes from Sue who attended Indian Wells for four days and got to see Roger play against Schwartzman and Seppi.
So far we've had stories from Brisbane, Melbourne and and now Indian Wells; meaning Dubai is the only one that is missing 🙁 . Anyway take it away Sue…
I started going to Indian Wells in 2011. The experience begins with landing in a beautiful semi-outdoor airport at Palm Springs, picking up the rental car (a must) and heading to the motel 10 minutes from the event. Cruising past the tennis garden starts the excitement.
We arrive on the Friday each time. Saturday begins the second round. I'm a bit of a nut covering all my bases; we get tickets for all day and evening sessions for four days running. I'm guaranteed to see Roger play twice. Maybe doubles too. How good is that.
This year our tennis tickets were lost in the mail. It was stressful sorting the whole thing out but in the end we got the tickets and close to the stadium parking passes. Our seats are some of the best in the house. Six rows up from the court, in the corner, with our backs to the sun. The shade hits the seats about 3pm.
The weather varies most years from low 30's during the day to almost freezing and windy at night. Some years we were wearing sweaters, coats, gloves, etc to keep warm at night. I don't know how the players manage such a temperature change. This year it was warm at night, a real treat.
The tennis garden is truly a garden. It's a beautiful setting with palm and lemon trees. Flowers everywhere and everything is clean. Every year things improve. Small things like misting fans, water bottle stations, lots of access to the practice courts. The new stadium 2 is awesome. Ellison paid me to say that.
Day one – order of play – no Fed today. He was scheduled to practice at 1pm. Damn, hottest time of the day. Forgoing matches, I camped out at the practice court with hundreds of other fans. One hour and almost heat stroke later, I gave up. Fed was a no show and so no chance of an autograph again.
Apparently he rents a house that has courts there. So he doesn't always show for practice. That day we saw Pennetta, Murray (Pospisil played poorly), Djokovic and Bouchard. From 2011, I felt Djokovic handles himself better on court, he looks more professional or something. Bouchard is cute and skinny.
Fed and Lammer played doubles that evening on court 2. The place was packed so we watched on the lawn chairs in front of the big screen. They lost in a tie break. Must be fun for Lammer to play in that atmosphere. Next was Isner.
Exhausted by now with not enough sleep. Back to the room for snacks and of course, wine.
Day two – Woke up knowing Fed in the draw. The butterflies already started. Last match of the afternoon…the shade will be on our seats, happy me.
We saw Dimitrov beat Kyrgois. Kyrgios should have won and should have called the trainer for treatment, taping when he rolled his ankle. Fool.
Saw Serena…yes her body is big and so is the serve. Saw Halep, Watson.
Time for the Fed / Schwartzman match. Jonathan, as always, did a great job of the match. No point in commenting on that.
When Fed enters the stadium, the crowd goes crazy and my heart ends up in my throat. How odd really to have all those people watching your every move. What I really noticed this year is how Roger keeps his head down. He never looked at the crowd once. Decent match. Damn, didn't catch any balls.
The most fun was the doubles match of Pospisil/Sock vs F Lopez/Groth. On court 5 in the evening – fun and close to the players. Lopez a fun guy.
Day three – we spent most of the day in stadium 1. Best match of the day was Sharapova / Azarenka. Also saw Madison Keys hitting Jankovic off the court but losing the match.
Ok, I'll admit it. I did watch Nadull play doubles. His ocd is getting worse each year.
Saw Lahyani in the concourse. He gave us a big smile and then ran off. Guess he didn't want to stop for a photo? Also saw Nishikori running through the lawn area. No one seemed to notice him. I knew it was futile to try and catch him so didn't even try.
Day four – the Seppi revenge. Getting tired now. Four days of non-stop tennis. Nodding off during some matches. I see Fed is on at 7 pm, 1st evening match. Nice and cool.
Another six matches today. The Seppi match wasn't the best. It looked like Fed was at first a little nervous. Then he looked very annoyed at something. Perhaps it was the way the ball was behaving at night, so different than the day. Not the best but how can you not love watching that magnificent forehand. The best in the world.
My trips to Indian Wells started out as a bucket list idea. I wanted to see Fed once before he retires. Now I go every year and wonder every time, will this be the last?