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NOTEBOOK \ Australian Open



Published: Tue, January 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Serena the actress: If U.S. captain Zina Garrison wants Serena Williams to play in the country's Fed Cup match against Belgium at Delray Beach, Fla., in April, Williams will be there. "It's in Delray -- are you serious?" Williams said Monday after her first-round win at the Australian Open. "Oh, I'll really want to play. I really want to play for Zina. I haven't been able to play with her yet. "That's perfect. It doesn't get better than that." Williams, who has lived in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., was mentored by 1990 Wimbledon finalist Garrison when she was new on the WTA Tour. After her 6-1, 6-1 win over Camille Pin of France, Williams was more excited to talk about her appearance in the TV sitcom "All of Us," than about her match. Williams said she played two roles in the show, which is produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett. "I never do comedy," Williams said. "They have been begging me to do a show a lot, but I never got the right script." She plays herself, and her assistant. "Her assistant was named Wanda, she was kind of ... out there, wore a really loud blond wig. She was really eccentric. I really got to stretch my comedic roles. I ad-libbed so much."

Friendly banter: Marat Safin gave former Australian Open champion Jim Courier some good-natured razzing when Courier interviewed the Russian on Monday. Courier, a four-time major champion who'll be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in July, is working for Australia's Seven television network. Courier replaced John McEnroe. "Actually, he's better than McEnroe at these things," Safin told the center court crowd after beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Courier gave some ribbing back by asking Safin about his performance at the Hopman Cup team event two weeks ago, where Safin went 0-6 in singles and mixed doubles. And Safin jokingly chastised Courier for reminding him that he's been a losing finalist here twice in the past three years. "It's too disappointing to think about," Safin said.

Two-sport Draper: Australian Scott Draper can pack away his tennis racket for a while and take out his golf clubs. Draper lost his first-round match to 13th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain. Unless he gets a wild-card entry for doubles, Draper will tackle the pro golf tour for the next two months. Draper, 30, qualified for his Australasian PGA tour card in December. "This is a year to really decide which way I'm going to go," Draper said. "It's going to be a difficult year, but I'm looking forward to it."

Associated Press




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