- Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - And, now onto the Super Bowl.

Serena Williams is not just a football fan and limited partner in the Miami Dolphins. She’d like to play.

“I would love to be a linebacker,” the No. 1-ranked tennis player said Monday after advancing to the Australian Open quarterfinals. “I just like to block.”

For non-fans, linebackers are usually the big guys who tackle.

Then she reconsidered, “OK, I’ll be a quarterback.”

During Super Bowl week, the comments came in response to a question about which tennis players might make good football players.

“Nadal would be a good running back because he’s low and he can run fast,” she said, referring to 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, who is extremely quick on his feet.

“Roger would be a good quarterback. He’d be a great quarterback,” Williams said about Roger Federer, famous for his precision and elegance on the court.

What about big sister, Venus? “Absolutely wide receiver!”

Tough call between No. 2 Maria Sharapova and No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard over who would make a better cornerback, since both are quick and would cover the field well defensively.

“It would be fun,” said Williams, who faces Dominika Cibulkova in the quarterfinals Wednesday. “We should all get together and play.”

By Jocelyn Gecker — https://twitter.com/jgecker


COACH AND LEARN: Watching from the sidelines is a learning experience for Martina Navratilova.

The 18-time Grand Slam winner joined the ranks of celebrity coaches in December, when she signed onto the coaching team of No. 6-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska.

Navratilova was asked Monday what it’s like to be watching and not playing.

“I have to be very calm,” Navratilova said during a TV interview on ESPN. “There is a camera right there in the box and it showed us going, ‘Oh NO.’”

“I’m definitely going to keep my emotions in check tonight,” Navratilova said, before Radwanska lost her fourth-round match to No. 18 Venus Williams.

To study up for the next tournament, Navratilova can watch some of the other star coaches, including Boris Becker in Novak Djokovic’s box, Michael Chang who coaches Kei Nishikori and Amelie Mauresmo who has teamed up with Andy Murray.

By Jocelyn Gecker — https://twitter.com/jgecker


FREE ADVICE FROM THE STANDS: A fan cried out some advice that Serena Williams says helped her win a very tough fourth-round match.

The No. 1-ranked Williams was down a set and trying to find a solution - when she heard a voice.

“Someone in the crowd was like, ‘Come on Serena use spin!’ and I was like, ‘OK,’” Williams said after coming back 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to beat Garbine Muguruza and reach the Australian Open quarterfinals.

“There’s coaches everywhere out here! Thank you guys, you really helped me,” Williams said during her on-court interview after the match.

The 18-time Grand Slam winner scanned the stands of Rod Laver Arena where she recalled hearing the voice and then pointed to someone in the crowd: “It was you? Thank you. Thank you!”

The interviewer, retired Australian player Rennae Stubbs, then suggested she give the fan a cut of the prize money.

“Five percent?” asked Stubbs.

Williams laughed off the suggestion. “Come on Renee!”

By Jocelyn Gecker — https://twitter.com/jgecker


Australian Open Scene follows tennis’ Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne as seen by journalists from The Associated Press. It is updated throughout the day.

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