By Rachel F. Elson
Updated August 27, 2003 04:12 PM

The surgery that has kept tennis juggernaut Serena Williams out of the U.S. Open this year is also going to delay her dramatic acting debut, the Associated Press reports.

The tennis star was supposed to begin shooting in mid-August for an episode of Showtime’s “Street Time,” in which she will play a reformed gang member.

The series, which stars Rob Morrow, follows the lives of parole officers and the ex-cons they work with. Williams’s episode had been slated to run October 1, but with the revised shooting schedule not set to begin until September 8, the episode is now slotted for October 22.

“I am looking forward to filming the show. It’s something that I am really excited about doing,” Williams, 21, said in a statement. “It’s so nice of them to accommodate me in this way.”

The recent Wimbledon champ has flexed her on-screen muscles with TV commercials and a sitcom appearance last year on ABC’s “My Wife and Kids,” but “Street Time” will mark a dramatic turn for her.

Both Serena and her sister, Venus, have pulled out of this year’s U.S. Open, now under way in New York. The move puts the center court spotlight on new No. 1 player Kim Clijsters, who has never won a Grand Slam tournament. Five of the last six Slams have resulted in sisterly showdowns at the finals, the AP noted.