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Challengers: new Zendaya tennis film reviewed by an expert in the psychology of competition

By Sean Irving, Senior Research Officer, University of Essex
“Tennis is a relationship,” says Tashi Duncan (Zendaya) in director Luca Guadagnino’s new film Challengers. However, this relationship is not simply between the game and the player. Rather the heart of tennis, and perhaps of all competition, is a three-way relationship between two contestants and a third person. Their presence, and observation, is what gives competition its intensity.

Challengers fuses sex and sport in a straightforward but effective way. Early on, at a junior tournament, we see friends Art Donaldson (Mike Faist) and Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor) fall in lust with…The Conversation

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