Melbourne: The mixed doubles draw is a little more star-studded than usual at the Australian Open this year, all thanks to the upcoming London Olympics.
Serena Williams and Andy Roddick are teaming up to get some practice just in case they decide to combine at the Olympics, where mixed doubles will be included as an event for the first time since 1924. Incredibly, the duo are not seeded and are scheduled to play the top seeds - American Mike Bryan and Czech doubles specialist Kveta Peschke - in the first round.
Serena joked after her second-round singles match on Thursday that she should play the forehand side since her forehand is better than Roddick's. But she'll stroke Roddick's ego by allowing him to serve first.
Serena and Roddick are teaming up to get some practice just in case they decide to combine at the Olympics.
"I was thinking I should, but I'll let him feel like, you know, macho man and let him start first," she said.
Serena has two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles from early on in her career - she won at Wimbledon and the US Open in 1998 with Max Mirnyi. Roddick has never played mixed doubles at a Grand Slam.
Other interesting pairings in the draw include the Japanese team of Kimiko Date-Krumm and Kei Nishikori and the Indian duo of Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi. With three of the world's top men's doubles players, India are considered a gold medal threat in the mixed competition; the only question is who will play with Mirza in London.
Though representing different nations, former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia is also partnering with Australian teen sensation Bernard Tomic.
Two players that definitely won't be playing together in London are Roger Federer and Martina Hingis. Federer asked Hingis last year about teaming up for Switzerland, but Hingis declined - a decision she confirmed on Thursday at Melbourne Park.
"We talked at the end of the season," Hingis told The Associated Press. "I haven't played for four years. He has to concentrate on singles and doubles and I think it's better that way."