Zendaya struggled with learning tennis

Zendaya found learning to play tennis convincingly for 'Challengers' difficult until she figured out how to use her dance background in the process.



Zendaya plays a former tennis prodigy in Challengers
Zendaya plays a former tennis prodigy in Challengers

Zendaya was “driving [herself] crazy” trying to master tennis for ‘Challengers’.

The 27-year-old star had just six weeks to convincingly portray sporting prodigy-turned-coach Tashi Donaldson in her latest movie and admitted she was “incredibly nervous” about the role because her skills were so limited.

She told Britain’s HELLO! magazine: “I had no idea about tennis. I knew nothing.

“All I really knew of tennis was Venus and Serena [Williams].

“It was terrifying as a challenge to take on because you know you’re supposed to be a great tennis player and I’ve never been a great tennis player.

“I was incredibly nervous just showing up.

“I was driving myself crazy trying to become a player.

“I remember when I first started hitting the ball, it would go off into the trees. It was never even close to the court. I was like, ‘Damn, I’ve got a long way to go.’

“It’s not a game you can just pick up right away. Unless you’ve been playing it since you were four, it’s just not happening for you.

“So sometimes I would come in and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I got this, OK’, like something clicked. And then you come in the next day and you can’t re-create it. And you’re like, ‘Damn, back to square one.’ ”

The actress eventually got comfortable by utilising her dance background to view the court moves as choreography she needed to master.

She explained: “I said to myself, ‘I’m a dancer, so let me dance this thing out’, and I began to focus on that.

“That became my entry into looking like a tennis player because I knew I wasn’t going to be one, but I could really fake it.”