Challengers Serena Williams

Inside the controversial Serena Williams tennis match that inspired the film Challengers

‘What if you really needed to talk about something? And what if it was something going on beyond tennis?’

Luca Guadagnino’s sweaty, pulsing, throbbing tennis psychodrama thriller is a whirlwind, a revelation, a horny little masterpiece of tension – and whilst it’s not based on any real life people, the writer of Challengers has confessed the film did take inspiration from a controversial tennis match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka at the 2018 US Open.

Challengers has Zendaya as fictional player Tashi Duncan who is wrapped up between best friends and rivals played by Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor – who are rivals both on the court and in the bedroom. Justin Kuritzkes who wrote Challengers has opened up at a press conference about his fascination with the Serena Williams VS Naomi Osaka match.

Naomi Osaka aged 20 beat the established tennis legend Serena Williams in three straight sets, and she became the first Japanese tennis player to win the Grand Slams singles. But Serena Williams was NOT HAPPY, and the match is infamous for Serena’s three court violations including slamming her racket into smithereens.

Kuritzkes said to Business Insider about the match:  “Immediately, this struck me as this intensely cinematic situation where you’re all alone on your side of the court and there’s this one other person in this massive tennis stadium who cares as much about what happens to you as you do, but you can’t talk to them.

“For whatever reason, it just clicked in my mind,” he continued. “Well, what if you really needed to talk about something? And what if it was something beyond tennis? What if it was something that was going on with the two of you? And what if it involved the person on the other side of the net? How would you have that conversation and how could you communicate the tension of that situation using the tools that are specific to film?”

Challengers is in cinemas now. For more like these Challengers behind the scenes pics and all the latest Netflix drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.

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