Commentary

Nadal hanging out with the stars

Updated: June 27, 2012, 2:34 PM ET
By Ravi Ubha | ESPN.com

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:

1. Novak Djokovic

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.

Caroline Wozniacki is hoping to play mixed doubles at Wimbledon with fellow Dane Frederik Nielsen. They were a duo at the Hopman Cup in January.

4. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and David Goffin If Nadal's practices are intense, what to make of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's?

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.

Goffin faces American Jesse Levine in the second round, and should he advance, he would likely tangle with another Yank, Mardy Fish, in the third.

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.

As Juan Martin del Potro arrived, she pounced. When Andy Murray was leaving, she grabbed the Scot.

Memories that will last a while.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com.