Sunny Logan doesn’t know why she tried it.
When you play as much tennis as Logan, you go through a lot of sneakers, so you’re apt to buy multiple pairs at one time. A recent purchase of two pairs of sneakers prompted Logan to consider wearing one from each pair to be different.
“It’s just whatever I can find,” said Logan, who started the practice of wearing different color sneakers last summer. “They are actually really hard to find like this (referring to her purple and yellow Nikes), finding the shoes that are the same type of shoes.”
Logan said she has worn adidas, Nike, and Babolat sneakers and doesn’t have a preference, just as long as they feel comfortable. She also isn’t picky about the colors, even though purple, the color of the sneaker she currently wears on her right foot, is her favorite color.
The United Colors of Logan were on display this past weekend as Logan won the girls 14s singles and doubles titles at the United States Tennis Association Mississippi State Open Championships in New Albany. She defeated Sienna Lightman (Memphis, Tennessee) 6-1, 6-1, Isabel Tonkin (Memphis) 6-3, 6-2, and Lucy Lee (Brandon) 6-0, 6-0 in the final. She teamed with Lucy Lee to win the doubles title. Logan is ranked No. 7 in the Mississippi girls 14s.
For her accomplishment, Logan is The Dispatch’s Prep Player of the Week.
Logan, who will be a freshman at Caledonia High School this school year, has been busy in the last three-plus months. In May, Logan defeated Richland’s Addy Seward in the championship match of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A State tournament. The win capped an undefeated season in which Logan didn’t drop a set. Logan also won the 14 girls singles division at the Candy Classic Memorial in May in Corinth. She defeated Reagan Salter 6-0, 6-0 in the championship match.
On July 22, Logan won the girls 14s singles and doubles events at the Hoover Junior Invitational tournament in Hoover, Alabama. She also won the consolation title at a tournament earlier this summer in Jackson.
Billy Clark, the teaching professional at Magnolia Tennis Club in Columbus, has watched Logan work at her craft this summer. As tennis coach at Heritage Academy and Caledonia High School, Clark is familiar with many of the state’s top players. He feels Logan has a special work ethic that sets her apart. Clark said Logan’s claim of practicing “four to five hours a day” is probably “conservative.”
“She has had that drive ever since she has been here,” Clark said. “When she first got here, and I don’t know how far removed she was from her cancer treatments, but she has gotten stronger and stronger and stronger. The hours have increased as she has gotten stronger.”
Clark said Logan was back on the courts a day after she won the state championship in high school, and that she “loves” competing against older players at Magnolia Tennis Club because she enjoys testing herself.
Clark said Logan has worked on putting more spin on her second serve. He said Logan’s strength in her forehand also has improved.
Logan was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, but she has left that battle behind her and is focused on her next challenge: moving up to the 16-and-under age division in September.
Brighton Lowther, a former tennis standout at Madison Central High who was state champion in 2015, has practiced with Logan for the last two years. He agrees Logan has improved since the end of the high school season.
“She hits the ball as hard if not harder than I do,” Lowther said. “She just works really hard all of the time. She is out here all day, every day.”
Monday was no different. Logan was at the Magnolia Tennis Club courts in the morning to hit with Lowther. She was back at it in the afternoon to play a little more. In both instances, she was armed with her purple and yellow sneakers and ready to handle anything that came back at her.
There’s no telling how long the current pair of sneakers will last. Logan said she typically gets a month-and-a-half out of her sneakers before she has to throw them away. She said the left instep of the right sneaker usually goes first because she uses that part of the sneaker to push off after she plants her feet.
Logan, who turns 15 on Oct. 12, said she doesn’t know of anything tennis players can attach to their sneakers to help them avoid the wear and tears of hours on the court. She said the current pair has lasted three or four weeks, so she feels it will last another month before she has to make a change. Logan said she probably should save the laces from each pair that she said gets “destroyed” through her wear and tear.
More than halfway through the year, Logan said she has gone through six or seven pairs of sneakers. That number likely will increase because Logan said she has never played more tennis than she is playing now. It is all in an effort to take her game to another level. The different color sneakers will help her do it with a flair that is all her own.
“I have seen how much work it takes to get to the top and to win the bigger level tournaments, so I am just trying to put in as much work as I can,” Logan said. “I still think I have a long way to go, but I am slowly getting there.”
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.