Naomi Osaka Shares Her Own Tennis Moves Set to ‘Challengers’ Score

Tennis star Naomi Osaka offered her response to Luca Guadagnino’s buzzy tennis movie Challengers on Thursday, sharing her own moves on the court set to the movie’s viral techno score.

On TikTok, Osaka posted a video of herself moving through a tennis serve and twirling her racket with her fingers after writing, “Me after watching Challengers.”

Though the tennis player has no official ties to the hit movie, which stars Zendaya embroiled in a love triangle with Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist, screenwriter Justin Kuritzkes previously told Business Insider it was Osaka’s 2018 win over Serena Williams that partially inspired the film.

At the 2018 US Open, then-20-year-old Osaka beat Williams in a dramatic match that was colored by three code violations for Williams, for receiving coaching, racquet abuse and verbal abuse. Williams, outraged specifically by the insinuation that she cheated by communicating with her coach, called umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” for docking her a point, and delayed the match significantly by disputing with Ramos and the game’s referees.

“Immediately, this struck me as this intensely cinematic situation where you’re all alone on your side of the court and there’s this one other person in this massive tennis stadium who cares as much about what happens to you as you do, but you can’t talk to them,” Kuritzkes said.

After her win, Osaka tearfully told the crowd, which spent most of the trophy ceremony booing, “I’m sorry that it had to end like this.” Earlier in the evening, Williams told her fans to “make this the best moment we can” and “be positive.”

“For whatever reason, it just clicked in my mind,” Kuritzkes continued of his moment of inspiration. “Well, what if you really needed to talk about something? And what if it was something beyond tennis? What if it was something that was going on with the two of you? And what if it involved the person on the other side of the net? How would you have that conversation and how could you communicate the tension of that situation using the tools that are specific to film?”

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