Nadal hanging out with the stars
Wimbledon Spotlight: Sloane Stephens
WIMBLEDON, England -- With all the activity, the first week of Grand Slams is often where the most fun is. And there aren't many better places to be than the practice courts, where the players come and go like shoppers at megamalls.
As the top of the hour approaches -- when most sessions start and end -- some depart and others make their way in. There are smiles, handshakes and hugs.
With all that, here's who we spotted Wednesday at Wimbledon:
Djokovic had a hit before his match against American Ryan Harrison and was, typically, light-hearted and relaxed. Djokovic gave a tournament worker, who looked to be in her late teens or early 20s, a moment she won't soon forget.
After going down a flight of stairs, he sat on a bench and changed shoes beside the woman, who was reading a book and didn't know the world No. 1 was alongside. When they eventually caught eyes, Djokovic said, "How are you?"
No reply came. The red-faced, surprised employee could only turn away and glance at her friends.
Djokovic then clowned around as he was being filmed by French television.
2. Sergio Garcia
TV cameras descended on golfer Sergio Garcia as he chatted with his good pal and fellow Spaniard, Rafael Nadal.
Garcia and Nadal have hit a few balls in the past, and Garcia -- who once dated Martina Hingis -- carried around a Babolat racket as he made his way around the complex. He's slender indeed. His face and frame resemble Israeli Dudi Sela.
Later, Garcia momentarily took his eyes off Nadal's practice to creep up behind James Blake's brother, Thomas, to give him a big hug -- and a proper scare. James Blake had just finished exchanging strokes with doubles partner Sam Querrey.
Nadal said he needed to work on his game after Tuesday's first-round win against Thomaz Bellucci, and he had an extra-long hit on practice court No. 1. He was, as usual, pretty intense.
3. Richard Williams
Richard Williams and the oft-critiqued Piotr Wozniacki have at least one thing in common: They led their daughters to the No. 1 ranking.
So when Williams saw Wozniacki, he casually strolled over with a smile and said, "Excuse me, sir." Wozniacki laughed (which we don't see him do in the stands) and countered with, "Hey, how are you?"
And then they both went on their way.
As Tsonga traded shots with David Goffin, he of the baby face and French Open surge, Tsonga struck two-handed forehands and one-handed backhands with abandon (not controlled, as he sometimes does during matches). He'd often converse with Goffin, and the two took a break not long into their session. Pretty casual stuff.
5. The chaser
It was job done for an elderly lady who sought as many autographs as she could get. She was one of the lucky ones with access to the practice pavilion, unlike the masses that were lined up yards away.
Memories that will last a while.
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