Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Emma Speaks: “Challengers” is giving tennis a revival

I have always loved tennis. My mom made sure that I knew who Roger Federer was by the time I was 10 years old. I had a racket, although I was never very good and half of my wardrobe currently consists of tennis skirts. So, it probably comes as no surprise that I have purchased a ticket to see Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers” for the third time. 

If I could describe the plot of the film in one sentence it would simply be, “Hot people play tennis and erotically yearn for each other for two hours and 11 minutes.” I’m not the only one obsessed with watching Mike Faist sweat all over a camera lens. The movie earned $19 million at the domestic box office, an impressive feat considering the widely loved “Call Me By Your Name,” also by Guadagnino, earned $18 million total during its domestic run. It’s also outgrossed other popular movies about tennis, such as 2004’s “Wimbledon” and “Battle of the Sexes,” helmed by the always popular Emma Stone and Steve Carrell.So what makes “Challengers” different? 

“Challengers” makes tennis seem more interesting than any other sport on the planet. The stunning cinematography, techno score and raw emotion portrayed by the actors gives tennis a PR campaign that it so desperately needed.

 A Google search for “tennis is boring,” turns up plenty of op-eds from people discussing how their friends think the sport is “Boring” and for “Country club folk.” “Challengers” sort of tackles the country-club stereotype, with Tashi Duncan (Zendaya) discussing how her parents made sacrifices to bring her success, and how they couldn’t afford traditional training methods. 

In “Challengers,” tennis is anything but boring. Every serve is accompanied by a thumping soundtrack, something that sounds like it should be playing while you’re downing vodka sodas in a club. This already ups the ante, but Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s stylistic choices add a level of excitement only rivaled by something like riding a rollercoaster. There is a moment when the audience quite literally becomes the tennis ball, shooting across the court, speeding by the pure grit on both characters’ faces as they play the most important match of their lives. 

The tennis in the movie isn’t just exciting by itself, the movie juxtaposes the biggest match with vignettes about the three main characters and the time they spent together, from the summer before college all the way up until they play professionally. The thread that connects it all is love, as Tashi, Art (Mike Faist) and Patrick (Josh O’Connor) continuously battle it out for each other. 

The beginnings of a threesome in a nasty hotel after the Junior U.S. Open sparked a level of homoeroticism between the two boys, forming a true love triangle between the group. The emotion is evident on the court, each smack of the ball by Art sending a message to Patrick about his feelings. All-in-all, Challengers is poised to give tennis a revival, and whether that be because of a hot throuple or the movie making the sport exciting, it’s never a bad thing when someone new picks up a racquet or watches a match.

Emma Erion is a senior studying Journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Emma know by emailing her

Emma Erion

Managing Editor

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH