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April 12, 2017 10:10 PM

Toby Smith talks with Mia Logan about being a devoted tennis fan

Mia_Logan_in_tennis_stadiumThere are people who play tennis competitively and people who simply like to watch tennis being played. Mia Logan, 49, is the latter. Though she took lessons as a young girl and liked to hit with friends when she was in school and against any available concrete wall, she never participated in a tournament. This year she went to the BNP Paribas Open, better known as Indian Wells. It was her seventh consecutive visit to that tournament. When she isn’t watching tennis on TV, she works at Sandia National Labs as an organizational development professional, in the human resources department.

What was the first tennis match you saw in person?

It was in the late 1970s, I think, and my dad took me to Tanoan Country Club, which was about to open. There was an exhibition there with Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong. I got autographs from both of them. 

So that hooked you?

Definitely. I’ve followed tennis on TV my whole life.  I’ve been a tennis fan my whole life.  

Your dad, Paul Logan, was the sports editor of the Albuquerque Journal for several years. Did your interest come from him?

Oh, sure.  My dad follows tennis. 

Tell me about your experiences at Indian Wells?

I went that first time with my father. He felt like it was the closest thing to a Grand Slam tournament, which we’ve never been to. Indian Wells seemed a lot more doable. 

How did you get there that first time? 

We drove.  We stayed in Holbrook, which is about halfway, coming and going.  I think it would be a hard car trip without stopping. 

Have you ever flown there?

I’ve gone by plane five out of the seven times I’ve been to Indian Wells.  I fly into Ontario on Southwest.  I rent a car there. It takes about an hour to get to the tournament.

How long were you there that first time?  

My dad and I signed up for the first week; it was more economical. We were kind of skeptical.  Seven days of tennis seemed like a lot.  I was afraid we’d get bored. 

Did you? 

Not at all. They open the gate at the stadium at 10 in the morning and we were there. Play starts at 11. We loved every minute.

What’s it like early in the tournament?

You see all kinds of players that first week.  Newer players and older ones. That first week players are more accessible. They sign autographs. They are often on practice courts with their coaches. They play soccer with each other on a grassy space. There’s a Kid’s Day that first week and there’s a meet and greet and they’re signing more autographs. 

Do you recall who you saw play that first time?

One night that week we had dinner with Jack Kennedy. Jack’s from Albuquerque and he really knows his tennis. My father had telephoned him before we left. Jack told us the players to watch. Milos Raonic and Alexander Dolgopolev, were two that I recall. The first week of the tournament is less expensive.  Once they get to the second week, Indian Wells jacks up the prices.

Does your dad still go to Indian Wells?  

No.  I usually go with friends from Albuquerque. They might come out after I’m there. These days I typically buy a pass for Championship Weekend, which features the end of the quarters, plus the semis and the finals. I like it because I want to see better tennis.  Championship Weekend also has men’s and women’s doubles.

Where do you stay?  

That first year my dad had a timeshare. Another year my mom, who does not follow tennis, had a timeshare nearby. I usually stay at least a half hour away. I make a reservation about eight months ahead to get a less expensive place.  I often stay in smaller, less commercial places in Palm Springs, which is more economical.  I don’t like chain hotels. 

What about tickets?

You need to buy your tickets far in advance. Otherwise you’ll wind up in the nosebleed seats. I buy mine as soon as tickets go on sale. You have to follow when they put tickets on sale, because it changes every year. One year I got my tickets in July. You have to be on top of it or else you’ll miss out.   

In your seven years there, who have you seen play?

Oh, Nadal has been there pretty much all of the time. Same with Federer and Djokovic.  

What women players do you enjoy watching?  

I’ve always liked Azarenka, who didn’t play this year because she’d just had a baby. I like Veznina, who won this year. I’m not a fan of Serena.  She refused to play there, you may remember, and didn’t for several years.  I was there when she came back after her hiatus. Some people booed her. 

What souvenirs do you have?

Three years ago, I was watching a match when I had to use the bathroom. As I was walking up the stairs Federer and a bodyguard were coming down. I didn’t have anything for him to sign and no Sharpie. Didn’t matter. I got to meet him very briefly.  That to me is a souvenir.

autographed_hatI know that your brother-in-law, Aleks Kostich, who has Serbian roots, is a huge Djokovic fan.  

Aleks had been bugging me for years to get Novak’s autograph.  Last year I saw Djokovic coming and then realized once again I didn’t have anything for him to sign with. I shouted “Nole!” and I ran after him. A woman nearby told me he had a Sharpie with him.  He turned and signed my hat. I was so excited! He really cares about his fans.  

What about food at Indian Wells.  Can you bring it in?

You’re allowed to.  I pack up a cooler and you can take it in along with bottles of water. The water must be in sealed plastic bottles.  You can’t take in any kind of glass containers. To save money, I pack salads from Trader Joe’s or make some sandwiches where I’m staying. 

How about the heat?  This year it sounded as if might reach 100 out there.

I’ve never been there when it’s 100.  It does get into the 90s.  You need to drink water, wear a hat and a long-sleeve white shirt. 

Will you go to Indian Wells in March 2018?

I plan to.

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