Zendaya on a tennis court with a racket

I Learned How To Play Tennis Like Zendaya for ‘Challengers’

Did you watch Challengers and want to go hit the sh*t out of a ball? Well, I did just that for a press event, and it was the greatest feeling in the world. It also helped that the Challengers score played the entire time we were there. 

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At an event hosted by MGM and Court 16, journalists watched Challengers at the Brooklyn Alamo Drafthouse and then, afterward, went through a four-court training circuit to make us into the tennis players of our dreams. It didn’t go as well for me because playing softball as a kid really uses a different set of muscles. Still, running drills and learning how to hit a ball as the Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score played in the distance made me feel like I could take on Andy Roddick. 

Joining the beginners team, we started by learning how to do a backhand and a forehand. Then, we would have to run drills doing both before moving to footwork and rallying. From there, we continued to combine all our skills until we ended at a one-on-one with our teammates. 

While I wasn’t the best, the experience did what I needed it to do. It made me want to see if maybe I could be good at tennis if I tried more. Is that the end goal? Was that my feeling just because I had watched Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor smash it? Who can say? But I did love it.

A taste of Challengers

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

There is something so fun about the fact that after watching a sports movie, you can go and play the sport. If I could go to batting cages after watching Field of Dreams, I would probably be sobbing while hitting some baseballs. With Challengers, the energy that the movie leaves you with feels like you need to get it out.

After my first screening of, I just rode home on a bike because I could not fathom just sitting still afterwards. So, getting that energy out by playing tennis really just felt like the right thing to happen. Court 16 taught us as many of the basics as they could, and while I am not ready to star in my own version of Challengers, I do think that it was the perfect fit after a film like that.

If that sounds like your thing, Challengers is in theaters now!

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


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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.