"I just threw myself in there"— Zendaya reveals how she prepared her tennis moves for 'Challengers' 

Los Angeles Premiere Of Amazon MGM Studios "Challengers" - Arrivals
Details explored as Zendaya opens up about her struggles with Tennis for her new movie, Challenger. (Image via Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Zendaya recently spoke to Variety Magazine about her movie, Challengers, which was released in theatres on April 26, 2024. In the interview published on April 26, 2024, spoke about how she prepared for the tennis scenes, as she confessed that she has “limited knowledge” about the sport.

She said

“I didn’t know anything about tennis, to be honest. So I just threw myself in there. I’ve pretty much seen every video, every match that’s online, every compilation, every interview. It became my thing. Anytime I wasn’t at work, I was watching something. My Instagram became full of tennis stuff.”

Zendaya continued

“I’m learning how to play tennis, and I’m seeing like these little kids on Instagram — like 10 — absolutely professional. I’m like, “Wow, I’m terrible!” It really is one of those sports that anyone who’s really great at it, they start so young. I was obviously very intimidated by the fact that I was stepping into something I really didn’t understand.”
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Challengers is a romantic sports drama film, which is about a tennis player, and his wife, who help him make a comeback. In the movie, Zendaya plays the role of Mike Faist’s wife. The movie shows her as a former tennis player, who retired after being injured.


“I might not actually be the most perfect tennis player”Zendaya opens up about her struggles with Tennis

In the newly released movie, Challengers, Zendaya plays the role of a tennis prodigy and has many shots where she is shown playing the sport. However, with no prior experience, recording a few shots was a task for the actor.

During her interview with Variety, she talked about having “incredible doubles” with tennis players and stated that she would often record them playing, and then see the videos multiple times to learn the footwork. She said

“We had incredible doubles who are really talented tennis players. We found someone that matched my build and I shadowed her. I watched her footwork. I would record videos, endlessly, of us side-by-side, and try to sync up my feet, my hands — just get it as close as possible to what she looks like. That became my focus."

She added

"And also learning the mannerisms: the little things that happen before they serve, or how they grab the ball. They put it on their racket instead of grabbing it in their hand.”

Zendaya also opened up about her having a “dance background,” and how it helped her learn the moves. She said

“Something that is on my side is that I have a dance background, so I tried to approach it from the sensibility of mimicking. I might not actually be the most perfect tennis player, and the ball might not go where I need it to go, but I don’t really have to worry about the ball anyway. We can put the ball in later. It became about fitting the movement and trying to match that as much as possible.”

Furthermore, she also stated how she was “driving herself crazy” as she wanted to pick up the nuances of the game.

The movie also stars Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist as the lead actors. Hailey Gates, Naheem Garcia, Jake Jensen, and Darnell Appling starred as supporting cast members.

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While the movie was scheduled to release in September 2023, it got delayed by many months due to the 2023 SAF-AFTRA strike. The movie was released in the US and other countries on April 26, 2024, however, it has already made its way into cinemas in Australia on March 26, 2024.

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