“She knows she’s the best of the best”: Movie Magic in Zendaya’s Challengers Was Not Enough to Fool Tennis GOAT Serena Williams

Serena Williams praised Zendaya's performance in the film, especially due to her zero experience in tennis

"She knows she's the best of the best": Movie Magic in Zendaya's Challengers Was Not Enough to Fool Tennis GOAT Serena Williams

SUMMARY

  • Zendaya plays Tashi Duncan, a retired tennis player who decides to coach her husband in Luca Guadagnino's Challengers.
  • She revealed to ET about the response she received from Serena Williams about her performance in the film.
  • She also hopes to hear from Venus Williams, who had also attended the premiere of the film.
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Zendaya plays tennis player-turned-coach Tashi Duncan in Luca Guadagnino’s sports drama film, Challengers. The film’s trailer became an internet sensation last year when it gave the audience a glimpse of the Dune actress’s steamy scenes. However, Zendaya’s latest remark would confirm that the sensual theme is only one element moving the story forward. She revealed that tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams both saw her film.

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Zendaya plays tennis player-turned-coach Tashi Duncan in Challengers
Zendaya plays tennis player-turned-coach Tashi Duncan in Challengers

The Spider-Man actress got feedback for her role from Serena Williams, but she revealed that she has yet to hear from Venus Williams, who attended the premiere of her film. The film explored the scandalous world of Grand Slam tennis and the lives of three tennis players, played by Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist.

Zendaya Received Words Of Praise From Serena Williams Despite Fake Tennis Balls

Challengers star Zendaya revealed getting words of praise from tennis legend Serena Williams (via @usopen | YouTube)
Challengers star Zendaya revealed getting words of praise from tennis legend Serena Williams (via @usopen | YouTube)

Challengers premiered on March 26, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. Apparently, tennis superstars and sisters Serena and Venus Williams had the chance to watch the film. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the female lead of the film Zendaya revealed the response she got from Serena Williams about her role in the film.

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Zendaya told ET that Williams immediately caught on to the fact that there were no actual tennis balls used in the film. The Euphoria actress shared that Williams, being the best of the best in tennis, would, of course, know whether they were the real thing or not. Despite the fake tennis balls, Williams loved Zendaya’s performance, especially considering that she had never touched a tennis ball. The Greatest Showman actress told ET:

“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.”

While Zendaya has received the thumbs up from one Williams sister, she’s yet to hear back from Venus Williams. She revealed that Venus had attended the premiere and she was nervous about the tennis legend seeing her tennis in the film. She shared,

“So I’m very nervous ’cause I know Serena has seen the movie but I’m very nervous about [Venus] seeing my tennis.”

Zendaya recently paid homage to the Williams sisters with her photoshoot with Vogue magazine. The Malcolm & Marie actress mimicked their hairstyle during their first Vogue shoot, white beaded braids, to honor them.

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Zendaya’s Steamy Scenes In Challengers Broke The Internet Earlier

Zendaya, Josh O'Connor, and Mike Faist in Challengers
Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist in Challengers

When the trailer for Challengers dropped on YouTube in 2023, it broke the record for the most viewed original film trailer in 24 hours (via Deadline). Zendaya found it “hilarious” that her family members, including her parents, had seen the film. She revealed that they were aware of the s*xy nature of the film. While she had the same situation with her parents during Euphoria, they still went “Oh God” during some of the scenes. Zendaya revealed to ET:

“They all know the rating of the movie. They know what it’s about. They’ve been forewarned. And they’ve all seen Euphoria, so it’s not like our first rodeo or anything. It was funny ’cause obviously I’ve seen the movie many times, so I know what’s coming. They were all sitting behind me and I got to watch them watch and slowly just be like, ‘Oh God.'”

The film was initially set to be released in September 2023. However, the release date was later moved to April 2024 due to the SAG-AFTRA strikes. The film was also set to premiere on the opening night of the Venice Film Festival but was later withdrawn.

Challengers is scheduled to be released in the U.S. and Canada on April 26, 2024. 

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Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1258

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.