Mike Faist, Zendaya, and Josh O'Connor sitting on a bed together

The Ending of ‘Challengers’ Is a Lot To Take In

Challengers will leave you breathless in a number of ways, one definitely being the last match between former friends Patrick and Art. But what does the entire scene mean and why does Tashi yell in a way that makes you feel like you should also be yelling at a tennis match?

Recommended Videos

*Spoilers for Challengers ahead!*

The latest Luca Guadagnino film feels like the sport itself, a constant back and forth between Tashi Duncan (Zendaya) and the men in her life. At the start of the movie, Tashi is talking about the feeling of a tennis match and what it means to actually be playing the sport, but you learn that what she wants in her relationships, either on the court or in real life, is a challenge.

It starts with her relationship with Patrick (Josh O’Connor), and then, in her marriage to Art (Mike Faist), she clearly wants him to fight back—not just for her, but in tennis, as well, which leads us to the final moments of Challengers.

Throughout the movie, we are watching a tennis match from 2019 between Art and Patrick, with Tashi watching from the sidelines. We get to see flashbacks to who these people used to be and what led the two friends to be enemies on the court. The reason for their “breakup” was Tashi, and now they’re again fighting back and forth about her.

From the moment that Art knows what happened between Tashi and Patrick on, it is a real match and colors the entire last moments of the film.

Communicating with a racket

Josh O'Connor talking and Mike Faist listening in Challengers
(Niko Tavernise/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)

It is established earlier in the movie (when Art and Patrick are young) that they have a code to reveal whether Patrick slept with Tashi without him having to even say anything. He just needs to serve the ball like Art does. So when Patrick sleeps with Tashi the night before the match in 2019, after being on the outs with his friend for years, he uses that to his advantage, to get Art to actually play him back.

The last act of the movie kicks off with Patrick telling Art, via his racket, that he slept with Tashi, and from there it is an intense back and forth to the finish line of the match that could change Patrick’s life and is Art’s last shot at the grand slam.

Tashi finally got her match

Zendaya in the wind in red light
(Niko Tavernise/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)

Tashi wants to feel things through the back and forth of a tennis match. That’s her love language of sort, and since Art had all but given up and was only still playing to appease her, she was clearly falling out of love with him. This last match against Patrick really brought those feelings all together and left her watching the end of the match on the edge of her seat.

As Art leaps up to try to hit the ball to win, he ends up going over the net and right into Patrick’s arms, the two hugging and embracing in a way they did as teenage boys, and we see Tashi screaming in a way she hasn’t since she was playing tennis. It is all about that rise and fall of a good match of tennis, and maybe the ending of this movie confirms that they should all just be in a throuple, but alas.

(featured image: Niko Tavernise/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article One of the Best Sequels Ever Just Turned 20 Years Old
Ogre couple Shrek and Fiona hold hands in 'Shrek 2'.
Read Article ‘Star Wars’ Most Maligned Movie Still Slaps 25 Years Later
Shown from left: Natalie Portman (as Queen Padmé Amidala), Liam Neeson (as Qui-Gon Jinn), Jake Lloyd (as Anakin Skywalker), Ewan McGregor (as Obi-Wan Kenobi) all stand together.
Read Article One of ‘Mad Max’s Most Iconic Villains Is Returning in ‘Furiosa’
Immortan Joe stares down at the camera, surrounded by his sons and henchmen.
Read Article Chris Pratt, Star of ‘Garfield,’ Doesn’t Like Lasagna and the Internet Is Rightfully Mad
Chris Pratt spotted out in Los Angeles
Read Article Max’s Best Friend: The True Story Behind ‘The Road Warrior’s Most Loyal Companion
Mel Gibson in Mad Max: The Road Warrior
Related Content
Read Article One of the Best Sequels Ever Just Turned 20 Years Old
Ogre couple Shrek and Fiona hold hands in 'Shrek 2'.
Read Article ‘Star Wars’ Most Maligned Movie Still Slaps 25 Years Later
Shown from left: Natalie Portman (as Queen Padmé Amidala), Liam Neeson (as Qui-Gon Jinn), Jake Lloyd (as Anakin Skywalker), Ewan McGregor (as Obi-Wan Kenobi) all stand together.
Read Article One of ‘Mad Max’s Most Iconic Villains Is Returning in ‘Furiosa’
Immortan Joe stares down at the camera, surrounded by his sons and henchmen.
Read Article Chris Pratt, Star of ‘Garfield,’ Doesn’t Like Lasagna and the Internet Is Rightfully Mad
Chris Pratt spotted out in Los Angeles
Read Article Max’s Best Friend: The True Story Behind ‘The Road Warrior’s Most Loyal Companion
Mel Gibson in Mad Max: The Road Warrior
Author
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.