NEW YORK – Serena Williams (search) is doing something unusual this week - she's playing tennis.
The biggest draw in women's tennis has been popping up all over TV during the last eight months as an actress, while she recuperates from knee surgery.
After guest-starring shots on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," (search) Showtime's "Street Time" (search) and this Sunday "The Division," (search) Lifetime's cop show, is Serena contemplating trading in her tennis racket for a Screen Actors Guild card?
"It would be very difficult to choose between tennis or acting," she told The New York Post. "I love what I do tennis-wise; it's my first career, my first love and something that I really, really enjoy. However, I really enjoy the other aspect of my life [acting], and I have to split it up. I have to work my schedule of tennis around it."
The 22-year-old star says she is committed to the tennis tour through July and the French Open (search). After that, she plans to meet with TV and movie execs to land more acting parts.
"I have so much stuff lined up," she said. "It's difficult because I'm going to Europe to go on tour for tennis, but when I come back I'm going to hang out in L.A. and do a lot of stuff."
Williams declined to say what acting commitments she's made for later in the year, but her serious interest in show business is shaking the tennis world.
"Acting is definitely something that I really, really enjoy," Williams said. "I really love being on the set. It's something that I truly, truly enjoy."
Serena has plenty of incentive to keep playing tennis. She signed a $40 million deal with Nike - that is contingent on her playing competitive tennis.
"I've turned down so many roles due to the fact that I play tennis," Williams says - emphasizing she has no plans to quit the game.
"I had a little time [due to the operation], but I was still working out, practicing and going to the gym," she said. "I was also going to the set really early. I think it all paid off at the end - I hope it did."
Would she ever consider scaling back on her tennis career to be an actor full time?
"By no means," she laughs. "My knee's feeling good."
Among her upcoming appearance are her first movie role in "Beauty Shop." She is taking horseback riding lessons now for an untitled western that begins filming in late fall, she said. Previous TV jobs included a 2002 guest spot on ABC's "My Wife and Kids" (search) and a 1999 appearance on "The Simpsons." (search)
On "The Division" - which airs Sunday at 9 p.m. - Williams plays a character who's been found after she was kidnapped as a toddler 20 years earlier.
"It's one of my most challenging roles," she says. "I really had to focus a lot during it. For some scenes where I had to cry, I had to go off by myself and really picture what I needed to do - it took a lot of preparation." Since her surgery, Williams return to tennis has been sketchy.
Last week she defeated Kelly McCain 6-1, 6-0 at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C., but has withdrawn from the U.S. team's upcoming Fed Cup match against Slovenia, citing concern about her knee.