Zendaya Shares Serena Williams’ Reaction To ‘Challengers’ Film

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Zendaya’s latest film “Challengers” has caught the attention of none other than tennis icon Serena Williams. The actress revealed that Williams had an honest yet approving response to the movie.

In an interview with ET, Zendaya shared Serena’s reaction, saying, “She was like, ‘I know there definitely weren’t real [tennis] balls.’ She knows. She’s the best of the best.”

Despite Zendaya’s initial nervousness about her tennis skills, Serena found her performance commendable. Zendaya admitted, “She did say that it was great considering that I had never, never touched a tennis ball before.”

Zendaya’s Role in “Challengers”

Directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by Justin Kuritzkes, “Challengers” stars Zendaya alongside Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist. Zendaya expressed her excitement about the film, calling it a step into a more “grown-up” role.

“I felt like it was a good step into a more, I guess you could say, ‘grown-up’ role and into that next phase,” she shared last year.

The film’s synopsis sets the stage for an intense narrative: “Challengers stars the actress as Tashi Duncan, a former tennis prodigy turned coach and a force of nature who makes no apologies for her game on and off the court.”

Zendaya’s preparation for the role included three months of training with pro tennis coach Brad Gilbert. Despite her dedication, the actress jokingly apologized “in advance” to Serena and Venus Williams for her tennis skills.

Her performance in “Challengers” also marks her debut as a mother on-screen. Drawing inspiration from the mothers in her life, Zendaya embraced the role wholeheartedly.

“I have many, many nieces and nephews, so they’re like my borrowed children, you know?” she said, emphasizing her preparation for the maternal role.

Director Luca Guadagnino praised Zendaya’s commitment, revealing that very little stunt doubling was needed for her tennis scenes. The film promises to reignite old rivalries both on and off the court, adding layers of drama and intensity to the narrative.