Naomi Osaka Does Her Best Zendaya Impression After Watching 'Challengers'


Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates winning against Tamara Korpatsch of Germany during day two of the 2024 Brisbane International at Queensland Tennis Centre on January 01, 2024 in Brisbane, Australia.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka's Zendaya impression is, frankly, an ace.

The tennis champ took to TikTok after watching Z's new movie Challengers, and it apparently got her feeling some type of way.

"No one:" Osaka captioned her video. "Me after watching Challengers"

In it, the athlete slides her sunglasses down her face, perfects her serve in slow motion, and rotates her racket expertly in her hand, all set to the movie's high-tension instrumental soundtrack.

Commenters came prepared with the jokes.

"your form is soo good!! you should pursue tennis professionally," quipped one person, with many others riffing on the same joke.

The official Challengers TikTok commented, "Iconic"


♬ Challengers [MIXED] (Challengers Soundtrack) - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross & Boys Noize

Others pointed out that Osaka was definitely an inspiration for the film's protagonist Tashi, played by Zendaya.

"naomi u were deff on the tashi moodboard," wrote one person.

"Lmao Naomi you’re the reason this movie was made in the first place," said another.

The tennis player wasn't technically a direct inspiration for Tashi; however, the film's screenwriter Justin Kuritzkes has shared that the idea for Challengers was born when Osaka defeated Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open women's singles final, a scene when emotions were running high—with Williams arguing with the umpire over code violations he gave her. After the match, Osaka cried and told the crowd, "I'm sorry that it had to end like this."

Naomi Osaka of Japan cries after winning the Women's Singles finals match alongside runner up Serena Williams of the United States on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"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 during a recent press conference, as reported by Business Insider.

"For whatever reason, it just clicked in my mind, 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?

"That was really where it all started for me."

Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.