Zendaya Teases Sexual Tension in Tennis Movie ‘Challengers’: ‘There’s So Much in Just Glances’

Zendaya Teases Sexual Tension in Tennis Movie: Following the June trailer debut for the 2024 film Challengers, lead star Zendaya has discussed the sensual tone of the sports comedy-drama, directed by filmmaker Luca Guadagnino.

“What Luca’s really good at is finding sensuality and desire,” Zendaya, 26, told Empire in an interview published Aug. 1. “There’s so much in just glances. The tension builds. Not having the release is a good thing sometimes.”

MGM’s R-rated Challengers follows Tashi, played by Zendaya, a former tennis star turned coach who pushes her husband Art, a formerly average player portrayed by Mike Faist, to become a Grand Slam winner.

Zendaya Teases Sexual Tension in Tennis Movie

After Art’s losing streak, Tashi spurs him to compete for court dominance against his former best friend — and Tashi’s ex-boyfriend — Patrick, played by Josh O’Connor.

“The tennis is the sex,” 33-year-old British actor O’Connor told Empire. “Those moments are so steamy. The film explores the tension before and after. The sex they’re all craving is on the court.”

Those heated moments were evident in the June trailer, set to Rihanna’s “S&M.” In one scene, the three contenders share an intimate throuple moment on a hotel bed.

Zendaya Teases Sexual Tension in Tennis Movie 1

“He had no prior tennis knowledge going into this,” Faist, 31, said of Guadagnino’s approach. “He was more interested in the bodies and sweat.”

Challengers will premiere April 26, 2024, postponed from its original Sept. 15, 2023 release due to industry strikes causing a Hollywood halt.


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