WIMBLEDON – The practice court bookers at Wimbledon have a cheeky sense of humor.
Or perhaps they’re few years behind on the news?
Two days running, the schedulers put Maria Sharapova and former love Grigor Dimitrov on the same court, in back-to-back time slots.
Which meant, of course, that they were fated to run into each other on the changeover.
And, of course, they did.
When practice courts switch over to the next group, there’s no real set way things happen.
The only constant are the automatic multiple handshakes and high-fives between the players practicing together and their teams at the end of a session.
Sometimes, if the players coming off the court and those coming on know each other really well, there are handshakes and kisses and everyone on each team says hey to the others and it’s all very congenial.
On other occasions, it’s just very businesslike. One group of players and coaches pack up and the other hastens to get on court and start hitting, to not waste a minute of their allotted time.
Sometimes – and this is more true of the women and the men – there’s a slight nod, or the players just kind of ignore each other completely. They’re not being rude; they’re just wrapped up in their own deals. No one seems to take offense.
High-five from Grigor
On Saturday, Sharapova and Carina Witthoeft were booked on Court 4, to be followed by Dimitrov and Thiem.
In this case, you could see that Dimitrov wanted to go over and say hello. But he was sort of hesitating until he just plucked up all his might and just went for it – damn the torpedoes, straight ahead.
He held out his hand for a high-five and … he got it!
The former pair chatted amiably for a bit, and then went on with their business.
Same time, different court
On Sunday, Sharapova was on Court 16, inside Aorangi Park.
And again, Dimitrov followed her again on the schedule
This time, the non-random run-in was already yesterday’s news.
Sharapova and Dimitrov dated for about two years, ending their relationship in early 2015. They seemed awfully happy for awhile, didn’t they?
But these intra-tennis relationships so often don’t work out. Despite the men and women playing the same sport, they aren’t in the same place at the same time all that often.
Dimitrov, seeded No. 6 in the men’s draw, faces a tough opponent in unseeded Stan Wawrinka in his first-round match on Monday.
Sharapova, seeded No. 24, faces qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia on Tuesday.