"It was great"- Zendaya recalls Serena Williams' reaction to tennis scenes in Challengers

Zendaya talks about Serena Williams. (Images via Instagram/@zendaya & @serenawilliams)
Zendaya talks about Serena Williams. (Images via Instagram/@zendaya & @serenawilliams)

American actress and singer Zendaya recently revealed what some Serena Williams thought about her latest performance in Challengers, a movie about a tennis player-turned-coach.

On April 19, 2024, the actress spoke to Entertainment Tonight's Denny Directo during the promotion of the film. While talking about the tennis legend's reaction to the sports scenes, the 27-year-old recalled:

"She was like, 'I know there definitely weren't real [tennis] balls. She knows. She's the best of the best. She did say that it was great considering that I had never, never touched a tennis ball before."

The movie is set to release in theaters and IMAX in the United States and Canada on April 26, 2024. It premiered in Sydney, Australia on March 26.

Zendaya reveals what Serena Williams told her after watching Challengers

Challenger is an American romantic sports film directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by Justin Kuritzkes. It is focused on the main character Tashi Duncan, a former tennis player. She coaches her husband, Art, and transforms him from a mediocre player into a world-famous grand slam champion.

Zendaya appeared in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight, alongside co-stars Josh O'Connor, and Mike Fais to talk about the show. She claimed Serena Williams complimented her for her performance in the film.

She spoke about Serena Williams and her sister Venus in the Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. When the Access Hollywood told Zendaya that Venus was present at the event, she replied:

"You know how nervous I am about her seeing the tennis. I'm like, 'Oh, My!' I'll be watching like..."


The actress then comically looked around showing how nervous she was about the tennis player watching her acting. She also spoke about her Vogue interview with Serena Williams, saying:

"I mean it was like partially, I was so lucky and honored that she gave me a bit of her time for the Vogue interview with me. We just kinda ended up having our own chat because I just wanted to be able to tell her first of all 'I love you and thank you for all you represent'. For so many of us who have watched her career... and what she has represented for so many young black girls."

Zendaya claimed that going into the Challengers film, the two female players were all she knew about the "world of tennis". The Euphoria star also called the duo "iconic" and how the interview was "very special" to her.

During the premiere, Zendaya also opened up about the inspiration behind her on-screen debut as a mother in the movie. The Spider-Man actress said that she has had a bit of practice throughout the years. She quipped:

“The mothers in my life and around me. I have many, many nieces and nephews, so they’re like my borrowed children, you know? I get to have fun and give them back to their parents."

On April 18, 2024, the actress paid homage to tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams in a re-creation of one of their most iconic looks with Roach. The outlet captioned the pictures from the shoot,

"An ode to the GREATS @venuswilliams @serenawilliams We thank you for all you have done! With Love, Z and Law."

The black and white dress she wore was created by Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon. The costume took inspiration from the look, the famous sports sisters wore for their first-ever photoshoot with Vogue in 1998. The actress also wore her hair in white beaded braids, just like the pair.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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