ATP Masters 1000Fan StoriesIndian WellsRoger Federer

My Indian Wells Story: Sue Watches Federer in Palm Springs

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 πŸ™ . 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.

Palm Springs Airport
Palm Springs Airport

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.

Misting Fans Indian Wells
Misting Fans

Day One

Tennis Gardens Entrance

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.

Isner Indian Wells 2015

Exhausted by now with not enough sleep. Back to the room for snacks and of course, wine.

Day Two

Federer Schwartzman IW Sue

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

Tennis Gardens Seating

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

Indian Wells OOP

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?


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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      1. Good Summary Sue… Different perspective article just from fan point of view rather match analysis… We need more of this… Thumbs up

      1. Really? Woah. In India every second vehicle is either a two wheeler attempting to break all the rules known to mankind, or an auto rickshaw (local cab) attempting to outdo the two wheeler.

        Now with Uber (defunct in Delhi for now) and it’s alternatives, car cab services have really picked up in some of the bigger cities- but it’s still out of the budget of a large large fraction of the population.

        Buses, Metros (local, only in some cities) and trains (national) have a super dense coverage. Quantity over quality seems to be the motto here, partly in lieu of the population density and the need to cater to price sensitivity of most of the population.

  1. Thanks, Nambi. Can’t compete with Jonathan on match analysis.

    Jonathan, my motel and Indian Wells is about 20 miles from the airport. There is no train or bus service. This ain`t Europe. I believe there is a shuttle from some hotels to the venue though.

    1. Ah that’s quite a distance a way. Must be a 30 minute drive?

      Never stayed in a motel. Are there any apartments available to rent for a few days?

      @Waleed – or telling Djokovic’s box to ‘be quiet!’

      1. Yeah, at least 30 min. Our motel is 10 min from the stadium. In the room is a fridge, coffee maker and microwave.
        You can rent places there too. We stay in a `basic`motel because we are only there to sleep. Didn`t even watch tv.

  2. Thanks for that Sue – and for the great pics – looks lovely there (even if it is man-made?). Shame you didn’t get an autograph. It’s a pity tournament staff can’t have some sort of system whereby if favoured players aren’t going to practice there they can put a note up at the courts, so that the poor fans don’t have to fry for an hour or more for nothing. πŸ™ Still, at least you got to see the champ play, even if not the best singles match. Good to see some of the other tennis stars in the flesh also. Sounded fun, if exhausting. Would have loved some of that heat – winter seems to be dragging on forever here!

    1. Yeah wouldn’t be difficult assuming the players say they are skipping practice or moving it elsewhere.

      You’d prob get Fedtards trying to locate that house though where the court is and turning up there. Best to keep them guessing.

    1. Happens all the time. I’ve even spelt my own name wrong. And that was when creating an account and logging into Perfect Tennis Live chat for the first time. Which is why I can never log into Live chat anymore. Because I don’t remember the bloody version of my name that I spelt.

      1. Your username for Live Chat is:

        Gaurav Sood

        Just reset your password, will send to your *h*f*e*r*[email protected] address and you will be able to log in. It also works for comments etc so no need to type in email address and name.

  3. Hi Sue, great you had a fun there. β€œWhen Fed enters…my heart ends up in my throat”…haha I know the feeling too well. Thanks for the post. It makes me really wanting to see Fed in IW one day. So don’t ever wonder when will be the last! See you there next year? πŸ˜‰

    1. Well, he said he’d be back next year. Planning on going again but maybe only 2 days of “good tickets” in stadium one. Ticket prices going up quite a bit.

  4. Thanks Sue! I love reading fan stories. It was fun comparing your experience with mine. My experience this year was great. I took a lot of pictures.
    Jonathan, how do I go about submitting a story too?

    1. Oh yes, double the fun! Just email it to him – see the, um, “About” page I think – see the “About PeRFect tennis” paragraph below.

  5. Thanks for sharing this Sue!

    I was looking at Cincy tickets, but the only way to get good seats is to buy the entire week package – and they’re all sold out already.

  6. Thanks thinker. I’m lucky because I get tickets from someone I know. Otherwise it’s difficult. The USO is very expensive for decent seats and so crowded.
    Too bad about Cincy.

  7. Thanks Sue for sharing your story. It’s always fun to watch roger to play live. I would definitely try to watch him play live before he hangs his racquet. May be next year.

      1. I like to think the same, but reality is never that simple. I should think I will “follow” it as closely as ever, but not “watch” it anywhere near as much

  8. Sue, loved your story. This was my first time to Indian Wells since the new tennis park was built..I don’t want to step on your lovely post so will just add a few comments..We travelled over 8,000 miles each way to see Federer play…and it was so worth it!

    We had tickets for Friday – Sunday the first weekend, and on Thursday morning decided to buy $50 general admission tickets for that day. It’s a great time to go..much fewer crowds, easier to get your bearings, and you see so many of the wonderful players who you don’t normally get to see in later rounds. The first thing we went to was Fed’s practice and we were able to get front row seats and one hour of the GOAT in his natural habitat. We were also there on the day that Federer had to cancel his practice, after waiting for a long time with people hanging all over the court and the adjacent courts to see Federer, he tweeted his apologies for not showing up, as he was practicing at a different location that day.

    The experience that stood out the most for me was how people absolutely love Federer and he is clearly the biggest star in tennis by far (In IW at least). Serena was back after 14 years absence and she didn’t get as much crowd support as Federer. imho. Nadal of course attracted crowds but again, not to the extent that Fed did. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many Federer Fanatics.

    1. Where did you travel from? Aus?

      Fed is easily the biggest attraction even know. The other players are nowhere near the level of interest he garners.

  9. Jonathan “meaning Dubai is the only one that is missing πŸ™ ” do you want my story in Dubai πŸ™‚ but I need to warn you, its sad one though πŸ˜‰

  10. Thanks Donna for your story. Fed is loved the world over. So many RF hats and t-shirts too. I’ve seen Fed practice a few times but not this year. They expanded the fan area at the practice courts too.
    I would be nice if Fed or ay player contacted the tournament and they showed the cancellation on the practice board.

  11. HAHAH. I can imagine Sue chasing after Layani, then spotting Nishikori and chasing him instead. Armed with a marker, a camera and a bagel!! Wouldn’t that be a sight.

    Thanks for the write up Sue!

  12. i don’t think I’ve seen Isner play so well. i saw him play against Melzer (stadium 2 photo). btw…Melzer not the same player anymore.

    Hey, Jonathan, you thinking of going to Indian Wells next year? Oh wait, you don’t like the accent.

    1. Yeah Melzer faded, he had a couple of decent years rankings wise but nowhere now.

      No plans to, the venue looks cool but from what I can tell it’s a bit in the middle of nowhere? I’m not really a fan of watching tennis solid for 2/3 days and nothing else, it gets a bit boring for me. I would go though if Larry gives me the call.

      But I like to do other stuff too and check out what else is in the area. So would need to be like a trip to the West Coast with tennis tied into it if I did go, but LA not really high up on my list of places to see.

      A 2 week trip over there could be spent on about 5 long weekends watching tennis in various European places so I’d rather do that.

      Plus you have to factor in the cost of teeth whitening, chest waxing, pectoral implants and a nose job which are pre-requisites to get through passport control at LAX?

  13. lol. There are so many rich people in Indian Wells. Apparently one of the wealthiest towns in the US. Many women with tanned very wrinkled leathery skin, bling, and expensive clothes, purses etc. And they`ve usually had too much to drink.
    Palm Springs has a plastic surgeon on every block.

  14. So, fairly predictable final lineup for Miami – I don’t envy the fans. I’m sure Fed’s perfectly happy with his decision to skip it, but I can’t help but wonder how he’d have done if he’d entered this year.

  15. I was hoping for Murray to win in the final. Amazing how Djokovic always seems to find that 2nd gear just in the nic of time.

  16. I Love those fan stories, great idea Jonathan! Lovely one Sue. You guys are so lucky.
    I want to go myself but sometimes it’s a bit tricky for tickets
    Like one the Wimbledon site, the ticket on the web site are said to be 30Β£ and on ticket master site it over a 1000Β£??? What is it exactly?

    For Roland Garros it’s too late apparently and Istanbul too!

    Did someone go to Madrid and ROme? Which one would be nicer?

    I’m trying to get tickets to Rogers Cup for the full week but the email address doesn’t work and neither the phone number!

    Also which one is actually better to go to? Cincinnati or Montreal? Roger might go further to Cinci I guess, but Montreal is nicer???

    And between US Open and Wimbledon, which one wold be nicer to go to?
    And What about the WTF?

    I would love some of your in put guys. I really really really need to go to see Roger this season…

    1. I doubt there’ll be any advance tickets at Β£30 for Wimby – sounds rather cheap to me. Make sure you use an authorised seller, because Wimby are *really* strict about resale of tickets, and will cancel any they find on places like eBay. I know finals day tickets are into 3 digits, but they certainly aren’t into 4, so unless that’s for several days’ play avoid it like crazy. You could just do what everybody else does, and queue, possibly overnight, or go for a day when Roger’s on 3rd match and hope you can get a returned ticket for Β£5.

      I wouldn’t bank on Roger going to Montreal – I get the impression he doesn’t like it there, for some reason.

      WTF is okay, but difficult to predict – you only get one doubles and one singles per session, so you’d have to book 4 successive sessions to be sure of catching him.

      1. Would you know the official sellers? I guess start from the web site…?
        I can’t go buy tickets as I’m not in London!

        At the moment I live in Africa and I have a base in Brussels.

        I need to travel both to Belgium and to the US so I could either plan something during the european swing, either during the american one!

        I’d love to visit Montreal but no schedule from Roger yet so it’s tricky.
        US Open ticket sale will start early june… Maybe I should take the all 2 weeks there?

      2. I think the official seller for WTF is Ticketmaster, but if you go to the ATP website and find an advert it should take you there. For Wimbledon, you’d have needed to enter the ballot, but that’s past for this year now. The alternative is to go there and join the queue like everyone else, obviously picking a day when Roger is scheduled to play!

      3. If you buy Wimbledon tickets online then you’ll be paying inflated prices as they will be coming from resellers / touts / debenture holders.

        The only real way of getting them if you’re not in the ballot or an LTA member is by camping. They do apparently release 250 each day on Ticketmaster but the chances of getting one are very slim. I’m pretty sure many people will have had something coded that runs multiple threads to secure them before anyone else can.

        Tickets for Roland Garros are easy to get I think, you can buy them on the door. Same for USO.

  17. It’s always a crap shoot. After Wimbledon, Roger hasn’t released his schedule. So we don’t know if he’s playing Roger’s Cup or Cincy. I would guess he would play Cincy but who knows about Montreal. Montreal is a beautiful city.
    I go to Indian Wells because it’s easy to get around…no big city. Also, always good weather. No issues with rain and cancelled matches.
    I also get tickets to 2nd and 3rd round matches so I’m guarantees to see him.
    I suppose it depends on where you live and how much money you are willing to spend. I find some websites are better than others for navigating and finding good seats.
    If you are in Europe, how about Halle? If you are in North America, I hear Cincy is sold out. Maybe USO early rounds…buy tickets to all 2nd round matches to cover your bases.

    1. Jonathan pointed out to me that although full week packages are sold out on the Cincy site, resales are still available on stubhub. Don’t know how much longer for though…

    2. SUE, I’d love to go to Montreal… But as said no schedule and no full package access! Indian Wells is even nicer to me, just couldn’t this year. It also happens around my birthday so I need to go next year as Roger said he’ll be there!!! Coming from far I might try to get the full package!

      As I said I’m in Africa and I also have my base in Belgium so It doesn’t matter really Europe or America. I’d be willing to pay 1000 dollars for person I guess.

      I don’t like the atmosphere in Halle (maybe because the sound on TV isn’t great at all) and I don’t like the stadium either but I don’t want to be close minded of course.

      Cincy would be perfect because Roger plays beautiful tennis to watch over there!!!

    3. I guess Fed’s appearance in Montreal will depend on how Wimbledon goes or whether he thinks he has played too much on clay and grass.

      You are right to rule out Halle because it’s common knowledge it is reserved for exceptional Fed fans only, so you might not be allowed in. I enjoyed it though. πŸ˜†

      Cincy is prob my fave outdoor hard court tournament and Fed always says the surrounding area is cool, pity they slowed it down though.

  18. Thanks Sue, nice article. Very short but sweet, loved the way it ended too.
    Do you mind my asking who you made the trip with?
    Don’t even want to think of when Fed retires, may be a bit more troubling for me with regards to my Tennis Addiction. May need to see a shrink πŸ˜‰

  19. Utch, The first year I planned to go alone. I didn’t know anyone available that was a nut like me. At the last minute, my sister said she was going and booked a plane ticket. She didn’t know anything about tennis, just didn’t want me to go alone. She instantly got hooked on tennis but isn’t a total Fed fan like us.

  20. Please who has heard anything from Federer’s camp, has he been practicing for Monte Carlo. Everything has been so silent. No pics, no dirty socks, no red clay.#worried

    1. Hey sweet Utch, don’t worry. The Goat is busy getting ready to WIN:
      Monte Carlo
      Istanbul and…
      RG πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Ps: Don’t you just love Thiem? This week he would be playing an official tour, but I guess he cancelled that to have a practise week with the Goat !!! Such and honour for him and for Roger.
      I like Thiem. He is just like Ferrer, Nishi and Goffin. Just playing tennis, nothing more and nothing less, and popularity and crowd will come itself. I love those people. They are who they are and don’t pretend to be something else.

      Ps also: Thank God… it is almost “Roger time”. There are a lot of talented players and great tours when he is not playing…. but seriously…. without Roger…. it really is boring out there πŸ™‚

    2. Don’t worry Utch – I found this (on the Federer site) so it looks as though he’s there with Edberg practicising hard. I wonder what new tricks he might have up his sleeve for the clay?

      And Katyani, I really like Thiem too – here’s a guy (it seems) who really works hard, has a real no-nonsense attitude and a lot of talent. He also seems calm, determined and has a great attitude which I think will lead to some great results very soon.

      And ditto on the boring without the champ – not long now – I so hope he has some good clay results. πŸ™‚

      1. Hey Slamdunk, totally agree πŸ™‚ But let us just first wait and watch how Roger & Rafa & Andy end up on one side of the draw of MC and Novak on the other side with…. just Ferrer πŸ™‚

  21. Simon Haering has tweeted pictures of him practicing with Thiem in Zurich, and the official MC Twitter account has posted a picture of him in MC – you guys who keep track of the practice outfits will know better than I do if this is a legit this-year picture.

      1. And RF_link retweeted photos of a fan with Stefan and Roger – I’d assumed it was in Zurich, but it might just as well have been Monaco – I certainly didn’t see any snow!

    1. Not sure, but I think I saw 12:30 Monte Carlo time? Remember ATP site has a clock showing time @ active tournaments.

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