Friday May 4th, 2012

Chris Evert (center) hosted 'Saturday Night Live' in 1989 shortly after retiring from tennis. (Courtesy of NBC)

Giants quarterback Eli Manning will attempt to outdo his big brother this weekend when he hosts Saturday Night Live. I'm going to go out on a limb and say there's no way that Eli tops Peyton's surprisingly great turn in 2007. Who can forget Peyton's United Way spoof? Perfection.

[Photo Gallery: Athletes who have appeared on SNL]

It's a shame that tennis players have hosted the sketch-comedy show so infrequently over the years. Chris Evert got the gig after she retired in 1989 (check out this amusing skit about being haunted by Martina Navratilova), and Andy Roddick did the honors after winning the U.S. Open in 2003.

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There's no reason tennis players wouldn't be awesome on SNL. "If you think about it, Saturday Night Live and tennis are not all that different," Evert quipped in her monologue. "Both require talent and concentration, both are done in front of a live audience, and both peaked in popularity in the late '70s." Zing!

Tennis is an international sport, and obviously Saturday Night Live wants a player with a huge American following to take the reins. Unless you're an American who wins the U.S. Open, chances are you're probably S.O.L. for SNL.

But that doesn't mean we can't dream. Here are just some of the players I'd love to see host the show. Improvisation: It's what tennis players do.

Serena Williams: How in the world has Serena not been tapped already? She's perfect for it! She's a huge star outside of tennis, she's game for anything and she's a born entertainer. Pair her with Green Day as the musical guest and you can't lose.

Pros: The woman can deadpan like the best of them and she's more than willing to say the most ridiculous, nonsensical things to get a laugh.

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Cons: She can't keep a straight face.

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Novak Djokovic: Another obvious choice, especially after winning the U.S. Open last year. The world is his stage and Djokovic's public persona is one long-form variety show in which tennis matches serve as commercial breaks. His English is flawless, he'll do anything to get a laugh and he's an impressionist extraordinaire.

Pros: He's willing to dress in drag. And his impressions, of course. The Darrell Hammond of tennis.

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Cons: OK, yes, New York still isn't sure if it loves or hates the guy. But if Djokovic wins the U.S. Open again, I suspect the city that embraces underdogs and outsiders will finally get behind the player who broke up the Federer-Nadal duopoly.

Andrea Petkovic: Off the tour for three months after injuring her ankle, the self-proclaimed "Rock Star of the WTA" has nothing but time. Give her a call, Lorne Michaels.

Pros: She bears a striking resemblance to Jennifer Garner, so the SNL writers can dust off any Ben & Jen jokes they might have. She'll appeal to the hipster demographic, and you can team her up with the Lonely Island guys and nail some Digital Shorts.

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Cons: Andrea who?

Caroline Wozniacki: One of SNL's favorite tropes is to take a young ingenue with a reputation for innocence and blow your expectations out of the water by showing her "other side." Remember the Natalie Portman rap? Wozniacki would be perfect for this, and the kid likes to perform.

Pros: She knows how to give a monologue.

[youtube=youtube=http://youtu.be/0ixOQK4Ja6c]

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Cons: Um ... don't let Lorne see this.

Andy Murray: Just kidding. I don't think Andy Murray would be a very good fit unless the show just needed a mumbling straight man to stand around and drolly read lines. But maybe I'm underestimating the Scot, whose dry, sarcastic sense of humor is often misunderstood.

[youtube=youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3ynYHHH9e0]

*****Which players would you like to see host Saturday Night Live? Sound off in the comments.

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