Zendaya Felt 'Terrified' Doing Tennis Scenes for 'Challengers' — 'and I Was Not Even Using a Real Ball!'

“The more I had to pretend to do tennis in front of a camera with an audience, the more terrified I felt,” the actress said

Zendaya has a newfound appreciation for athletes.

The Emmy winner, 26, told ELLE that she felt “terrified” while acting out the tennis scenes in front of a crowd for her upcoming movie Challengers.

In the movie directed by Luca Guadagnino, Zendaya plays tennis sensation Tashi, who later becomes a coach after an injury and lands herself in the middle of a love triangle featuring costars Mike Faist (as Tashi’s husband Art) and Josh O’Connor (as Tashi’s ex Patrick).

“The more I had to pretend to do tennis in front of a camera with an audience, the more terrified I felt,” she said, adding with a laugh, “And I was not even using a real ball!"

“I’m just doing the form and footwork and getting my swing right and doing it in front of a whole bunch of people as if it’s the US Open, and I’m terrified,” Zendaya said.

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<p>ELLE Magazine/ Steven Klein</p> Zendaya for ELLE's August issue

ELLE Magazine/ Steven Klein

Zendaya for ELLE's August issue

Related: Tom Holland Reveals He's Given Girlfriend Zendaya a 'Few' Golf Lessons: 'She Picked It Up Quickly'

In October, Guadagnino, 51, told Variety that Zendaya does “almost” all of her own tennis playing in his upcoming movie.

"I mean, wow. We edited the movie and we almost actually don't use any of her double. She's so good,” the director said.

Speaking about her lead character — who will coach her husband Art in the middle of a losing streak when he goes up against her ex — Zendaya told ELLE, “I still don’t understand the decisions she makes, and we had so many conversations about the psychology of her and why she is that way.”

The Dune actress added, “What was important to me was that she was unapologetic about it. Sometimes characters who are messy and conflicted and wield power over other people are reserved for [actors] who don’t look like me, so when I get an opportunity to play a character like that, I’ma take it!"

Challengers is in theaters April 26.

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