'Challengers' screenwriter Justin Kuritzkes thinks the "cinematic" nature of tennis made it ideal for a movie.

Justin Kuritzkes thought tennis was the ideal sport for a film

Justin Kuritzkes thought tennis was the ideal sport for a film

The scribe has penned the script for Luca Guadagnino's new movie that focuses on a love triangle on the tennis circuit and realised that the sport was ripe for the big screen after watching the controversial US Open final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka in 2018.

Justin told Variety: "I just happened to be watching the US Open in 2018. It was the match between Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams in the final, and it was very controversial because Serena Williams got penalised for receiving coaching from the sidelines. She got very upset and said that she didn't do that – but that was the first time I had heard about that rule.

"Immediately, it struck me as really cinematic, that you're all alone on the court, that there's only one other person who cares as much about what happens to you in this match as you do, and you can't talk to them."

He continued: "I started to think, 'What if you really had to talk about something important that went beyond tennis? Beyond sports? Something that was going on with you guys personally? How would you have that conversation? And how could you communicate the tension of the situation silently using the language of the film?'"

'Challengers' features Zendaya as Tashi Duncan – a tennis prodigy who turns to coaching when her playing career is ended by injury – as she gets embroiled in a love triangle with players Art Donaldson (Mike Faist) and Patrick Zweig (Josh O'Connor) and Justin knew the 'Spider-Man' actress was perfect for the role from the moment she was approached.

He said: "Once you have the idea of Zendaya being in your movie, it's really hard to imagine anyone else even attempting it, because she's so perfect for the role. It was so clear in our first conversation.

"We met on Zoom after Amy Pascal sent it to her, and it was clear to me within two minutes that she just understood Tashi so completely, that even though they were very different people, she could see a way in, and that was incredibly exciting for me."