If you’re a tennis fan, you know that there’s nothing quite like the thrill of watching a great match. But did you know that there are also some amazing tennis movies out there that can capture that same excitement and passion?
In a previous article, we explored some of the most iconic tennis commercials of all time, showcasing the sport’s ability to inspire and captivate audiences. Now, we’re taking a closer look at some of the best tennis movies ever made, from classic tales of triumph and perseverance to modern dramas that explore the sport’s impact on the lives of players and fans alike.
So grab your popcorn and get ready to be inspired by the power and beauty of tennis on the big screen!
Understanding Tennis Movies
Tennis has been a popular sport for decades, and it has inspired many filmmakers to create movies based on this exciting game. Tennis-themed films come in various genres, including drama, comedy, romance, biopic, documentary, and mockumentary. Many of these movies are based on true stories, while others are entirely fictional.
Tennis movies have been a part of Hollywood since the early days of cinema. They are not just about the game itself. They often explore the lives of the players, their struggles, and their triumphs. Some movies focus on the rivalry between two players, while others delve into the personal lives of the players.
Documentaries about tennis have also been popular among fans of the sport. These documentaries take a closer look at the history of tennis, the legendary players, and the most significant moments in the sport’s history.
Famous Tennis Movies
Tennis has been a popular sport for decades and has inspired several movies over the years. Here are some of the most famous tennis movies:
Released in 2004, Wimbledon is a romantic comedy film that follows the story of Peter Colt, a fading tennis player played by Paul Bettany, who falls in love with Lizzie Bradbury, a rising American tennis star played by Kirsten Dunst. The movie features several tennis scenes and is set during the Wimbledon Championships.
Battle of the Sexes
Battle of the Sexes is a 2017 sports comedy-drama film that tells the story of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King, played by Emma Stone, and Bobby Riggs, played by Steve Carell. The match was dubbed as the “battle of the sexes” and was one of the most-watched televised sports events of all time.
King Richard is a 2021 biographical drama film that focuses on the early years of Venus and Serena Williams and their father, Richard Williams, played by Will Smith. The movie follows their journey from growing up in Compton, California, to becoming two of the greatest tennis players of all time.
7 Days in Hell
7 Days in Hell is a 2015 sports comedy film that follows the fictional seven-day tennis match between Aaron Williams, played by Andy Samberg, and Charles Poole, played by Kit Harington. The movie features several cameos from real-life tennis players and is known for its absurd humor.
Borg Vs. McEnroe
Borg Vs. McEnroe is a 2017 biographical sports drama film that tells the story of the 1980 Wimbledon Championships final match between Björn Borg, played by Sverrir Gudnason, and John McEnroe, played by Shia LaBeouf. The movie is known for its accurate portrayal of the two tennis legends and their rivalry.
Break Point is a 2015 sports comedy film that follows the story of two estranged brothers, played by Jeremy Sisto and David Walton, who reunite to compete in a doubles tennis tournament. The movie is known for its witty humor and features several cameos from real-life tennis players.
Match Point is a 2005 psychological thriller film directed by Woody Allen. The movie follows the story of Chris Wilton, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, a former tennis professional who becomes romantically involved with his wealthy student, played by Scarlett Johansson. The movie features several tennis scenes and is set in London.
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Royal Tenenbaums is a 2001 comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson. The movie follows the story of the dysfunctional Tenenbaum family, which includes Richie Tenenbaum, played by Luke Wilson, a former tennis prodigy. The movie features several tennis scenes and is known for its quirky humor.
Strangers on a Train
Strangers on a Train is a 1951 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The movie follows the story of two strangers who meet on a train and agree to “exchange” murders. The movie features a memorable tennis scene and is considered a classic of the genre.
Tennis Movies on Streaming Platforms
Tennis enthusiasts who are looking for their next movie night inspiration can turn to streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Here are some of the most popular tennis movies available on these platforms:
- Battle of the Sexes: This 2017 film tells the story of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, the movie explores the social and political context of the match as well as the personal struggles of the two players.
- Coach Carter: Although not exclusively about tennis, this 2005 film features a subplot about a high school tennis team that faces various challenges on and off the court. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, the movie emphasizes discipline, teamwork, and personal growth.
- The Short Game: This 2013 documentary follows eight young golfers as they compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf. Although not about tennis, the movie shares some of the themes of sportsmanship, perseverance, and family support that are common in tennis.
- Borg vs. McEnroe: This 2017 film dramatizes the rivalry between two of the most iconic tennis players of the 1970s and 1980s: Björn Borg and John McEnroe. Starring Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf, the movie explores the contrasting personalities and playing styles of the two champions.
- Wimbledon: This 2004 romantic comedy follows a struggling British tennis player who falls in love with an American player during the Wimbledon tournament. Starring Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst, the movie combines sports action with romantic tension and humor.
- Strokes of Genius: This 2018 documentary revisits the epic 2008 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, widely considered one of the greatest matches in tennis history. Featuring interviews with both players and behind-the-scenes footage, the movie showcases the skill, athleticism, and mental toughness required to play at the highest level of the sport.
Real Life Inspirations
Many tennis movies are based on real-life events and personalities.
The documentary “Serena” follows the life and career of tennis superstar Serena Williams. The film showcases her journey from Compton, California to becoming one of the most dominant athletes of all time. The documentary also features interviews with her family members, including her father and coach Richard Williams.
The documentary “Citizen Ashe” tells the story of tennis legend Arthur Ashe, who was also a civil rights activist. The film explores Ashe’s life both on and off the court, including his fight against racism and his battle with HIV/AIDS. The documentary features interviews with Ashe’s family members and fellow tennis players.
Fictional Tennis Movies
Tennis has been a popular subject in the world of movies, and many filmmakers have explored the sport’s various aspects. Fictional tennis movies have been a great source of entertainment for tennis fans worldwide. These movies have depicted various themes such as drama, comedy, and romance. In this section, we will discuss some of the most famous fictional tennis movies.
Comedic tennis movies are also very popular among tennis fans. One of the most famous comedic tennis movies is “Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach” (2009). The movie is about a college freshman named Gary who becomes the coach of a failing tennis team. The movie explores themes of determination, teamwork, and leadership.
Tennis Movies and Sexuality
Tennis movies often explore themes of sexuality, love, and relationships. Some of the most famous tennis movies have been centered around these themes, including the 2017 movie “Battle of the Sexes” which explores the gender dynamics of tennis and the sexual revolution of the 1970s.
In “Battle of the Sexes,” the story follows the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. The match was not only a battle of the sexes but also a commentary on the changing attitudes towards sex and gender in society. The movie explores the relationship between King and her hairdresser Marilyn Barnett, which was a significant factor in King’s decision to come out as a lesbian.
Another famous tennis movie that explores sexuality is “Match Point” directed by Woody Allen. The movie follows a former tennis pro who becomes involved with a wealthy family in London. The movie explores themes of infidelity and the consequences of sexual desire.
In “Wimbledon,” the romantic comedy starring Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany, the story follows a struggling tennis player who falls in love with a rising star. The movie explores the relationship between the two characters and how their love for each other affects their tennis careers.
Tennis Movies and Luck
Luck plays a significant role in tennis, and several movies have explored this theme. One of the most famous examples is the 2010 Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, which lasted for three days and is considered the longest tennis match in history. The match was a battle of endurance, skill, and, ultimately, luck.
As we wrap up our discussion on tennis movies, we’d love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite tennis movies and why do they resonate with you? Are there any specific themes or messages in these films that you think capture the essence of the sport of tennis? Share your thoughts and experiences on the topic in the comments section below.