Wait, is Challengers based on a true story?

is challengers based on a true story
Is Challengers based on a true story?Niko Tavernise / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

Dust off your tennis rackets and pass the strawberries and cream, because Challengers is almost here starring Zendaya, Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist. But, um, is it based on a true story?

The film follows tennis prodigy-turned-coach, Tashi Duncan, who trains her husband, Art, to be a worldwide champion. But, after a losing streak, he soon has to face his ex-best friend and Tashi's ex-boyfriend, Patrick, across the court. So much drama!

The highly-anticipated movie finally comes to cinemas on 26th April, but some fans are speculating whether it's based on a true story or not. So, here is everything you need to know.

cast of challengers
Warner Bros.

Is Challengers based on a true story?

The film follows Tashi, a tennis player turned coach, who has transformed her husband from a mediocre player into a world-famous grand slam champion. But, to jolt him out of his recent losing streak, she makes him play a low level challenger game.

Then, tensions soon run high when he finds himself standing across the net from the once-promising, now burnt-out Patrick, his former best friend and Tashi's former boyfriend. So, is all of this based on real events?

Well, no, the film is not based on a true story. But, screenwriter Justin Kuristzkes has said that the idea for the script was inspired by watching a real, high-profile tennis match.

"I was watching the US Open in 2018 and it was the final between Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams," he told RadioTimes.com. "And there was this really controversial call towards the end of the match where Serena Williams was penalised for receiving coaching from the sidelines.

"And she got very upset and said that didn't happen. But the ref still penalised her. And I had never heard of that rule – that you're not allowed to speak with your coach during the match. And immediately it struck me as really cinematic."

a man and a woman sitting at a table
Warner Bros.

He added that while the likes of as Tashi, Patrick and Art are "completely fictional", they were inspired by real tennis players and stories he'd heard about the game.

"For example, reading Andre Agassi's book Open was a massive inspiration for the movie, because it's so hyper-specific about the life of an athlete and the feeling of being at the top of your game, and falling out of love with the sport and still having to do it," he said.

Challengers comes to cinemas on 26th April.

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