- Australian Open 2003 - Serena loves Blake's new look
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Friday, July 18
Serena loves Blake's new look

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Tennis's newest heart throb James Blake sported his new revealing outfit on Melbourne Park's center court for the first time on Saturday and won a raft of new female fans.

James Blake
Unlike Tommy Haas at the U.S. Open, James Blake got special permission for his sleeveless shirt beforehand.

But nobody was more thrilled to see Blake's new look than his No. 1 admirer Serena Williams.

Blake was voted "Sexiest Athlete Alive" by America's People magazine last year, and the female contingent in the center court stands cheered the dread-locked former New Yorker to victory over Spain's Alberto Martin.

Serena -- no stranger to exotic attire herself -- was quick to give her thumbs up as soon as she had finished her third round match.

"Oh, I just love his new outfit," she laughed. "It is nice. I think men should be able to wear whatever ... Some guys, you get to see their muscles, so I think it is nice."

Germany's Tommy Haas had been ordered to change a similar outfit -- a sleeveless shirt more familiar on an Australian Rules Football pitch -- when he tried to wear it at the U.S. Open in August.

Blake, however, got permission from tournament officials before the start of the season's opening Grand Slam.

Andy Roddick won't be emulating his Davis Cup teammate's racy new look any time soon -- the American says he doesn't have the physique for it.

"No, if I wore a sleeveless shirt, people would try to feed me after the match," Roddick said smiling.

"If you've got the guns, go for it. I've got two breadsticks sticking out of my sleeves ... I'll stick with sleeves."

But Serena was obviously pleased with Blake's style.

Warming to her theme, the 21-year-old who joked and giggled with Blake for a week in Perth earlier this month when the pair represented the United States in the mixed team Hopman Cup, heaped adoration on Blake.

"Oh he is a really nice person, he's just ... he's the epitome of a gentleman," she gushed. "He's just a very kind individual. He has a good heart -- his parents are really nice, as well."

Success-starved Britain has a stake in Blake -- his mother Betty was born in Oxfordshire -- but he is very much America's property.

Blake, 23, studied at Harvard before turning professional on the tennis tour and Serena thinks he has got it all.

"I think he could be a politician one day," she said smiling. "He could definitely run for state governor and then president eventually because he always says all the right things. I always have my notebook when I am talking to James."

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