"He had no knowledge of tennis going into this.And I think he had only a vague interest in certain tennisspecificities. He was more interested in the bodies and sweat."
That's actor Mike Faist speaking on his Challengers director Luca Guadagnino to Empire magazine, and triple-underlining why Luca remains the film director that I most identify with. I know a little bit about tennis since I have played tennis and it's one of the few sports I can stomach watching, but I also would direct a sports movie completely uninterested in the sports of it and more focused on the spectacle of beautiful bodies in motion. Also of note is this bit from the same article:
"In Challengers, it’s capturing that physicality and emotion that matters most. “What Luca’s really good at is finding sensuality and desire,” says Zendaya. “There’s so much in just glances. The tension builds. Not having the release is a good thing sometimes.” All of which is to say that, the action here is largely kept to the court. “The tennis is the sex,” explains O’Connor. “Those moments are so sexy. The film is dealing with the tension before and after. The sex they’re all desperate for is on the court.”"
This is definitely their way of telling us to expect less explicit sex than the trailer (watch it here) hinted at -- a criticism that's been heaped on Luca's shoulders ever since he (rightly) panned out the window in Call Me By Your Name, a criticism I have been calling bullshit on ever since. CMBYN remains one of the most intimate and sensual movies ever made, but y'all keep crying that you didn't see get to see explicit penetration and that makes me sad. Looks like we'll get to rehash that conversation all over again here!