FLASHBACK: Tennis Channel Live discusses Zendaya's role in upcoming tennis film Challengers


In between filming the third season of Euphoria and reprising her role in Dune, Zendaya has also found time to pick up a bit of tennis—or make that a lot of tennis, according to Challengers director Luca Guadagnino.

The 26-year-old Zendaya is one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood, and for good reason. To prepare for her role as a pro tennis player-turned-coach in his upcoming tennis-themed movie, Zendaya reportedly trained for three months to hone her skills with a racquet.

“She’s wonderful. I mean, wow,” director Guadagnino told Variety. “We edited the movie and we almost actually don’t use any of her double. She’s so good.”

Challengers is “a sexy comedy on tennis”, according to Guadangnino, which is set against the backdrop of the lowest rungs of men’s professional tennis: the ATP Challenger Tour.

Zendaya plays Tashi Donaldson, whose husband Art—played by Mike Faist—falls into a disappointing losing streak. As Tashi trains Art back into world-beating form, she signs him up for a few Challenger events—where they run into Art’s former best friend and Tashi’s ex, Patrick, played by Josh O’Connor.

“All of them, they spent like three months working very hard,” Guadagnino said. “Everybody… technically, athletically.”

“Brad Gilbert has been a wonderful consultant for this,” he revealed.


“[It] was a lot of fun buddy! Working with @Zendaya,” Gilbert shared on social media, along with star eyes and thumbs up emojis.

Gilbert, himself a former player-turned-coach, as well as a tennis analyst and author of Winning Ugly, has previously worked with the likes of Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick. Could we see some Grand Slam quality swings from Zendaya herself?

Challengers is scheduled to hit theaters on August 11, 2023, with filming having wrapped production in June.