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Zendaya’s new film Challengers sees the history-making Emmy winner and certified fashion icon take on a character that’s unlike any other she’s played before.

Not only is the 27-year-old being seen on-screen as a wife and mother for the first time, but she’s also playing a professional athlete, which is something she, alongside castmates Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor, had to undergo a gruelling 12-week training programme to prepare for.

The actress’ dedication to her fictional facsimile has obviously extended to reality – she is, after all, exclusively dressing in tennis-inspired outfits for the film’s press tour – and there is an element of non-fiction to the film’s storyline.

Watch the video above.

Mike Faist, Zendaya, Josh O'Connor

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Challengers – which is out in Australian cinemas on April 18 – sees Zendaya’s Tashi Duncan, a superstar tennis player forced into retirement due to injury, turn her husband Art Donaldson into a Grand Slam champion.

He is, however, in the midst of a losing streak, so to jolt him out of it, Tashi signs Art up for a Challenger event. When the time for the tournament comes, Art finds himself standing face-to-face with his former best friend – and Tashi’s ex-boyfriend – Patrick Zweig.

Cue, as Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen said in their divorce announcement, a “long tennis match lasting over twenty years” as the trio’s decades-long relationship is explored through flashbacks, and in real time.

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“Tennis in this film is really just a metaphor for power, and power dynamics amongst  people who lean on each other, maybe a little bit too much,” Zendaya says.

“Tashi’s first love is tennis – that was the thing that gave her strength and power and made her who she  is,” she continues.

“I can identify with that, because I have found so much of my identity through my work.  The moment when, because of an injury, Tashi is no longer able to do the one thing that she feels defines her, she  has to find a way to redefine herself.

“She’s doing her best to control everything, and to be in control of her emotions,  to get what she wants and needs out of life, but I’m not sure she knows what it leads to. I think there’s a lot of women that will see themselves in Tashi.”

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Zendaya opens up about her new film in Sydney

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Is Challengers based on a true story?

While neither Tashi, Art nor Patrick’s characters, or the storyline in general, are based on real life people or a real life story, there was one real life tennis match in particular that inspired Justin Kuritzkes to write his debut screenplay.

Kuritzkes was researching his grandfather’s life when inspiration struck. The New York City-based playwright’s grandfather was bureau president of Queens, New York City – which is home to the United States Open – in the 1980s.

As Kuritzkes looked into Arthur Ashe Stadium’s history, he happened to see a controversial 2018 match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, two athletes who have had a brief but memorable history between them.

Click the image below to see all the stunning celebrity looks at the Australian premiere of Challengers over at 9Honey Style.

Challengers Sydney premiere click through

“I had not been much of a tennis fan, but my family is full of tennis fans,” Kuritzkes says.

“Watching Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka in the finals together, there was a controversial call about Williams receiving coaching from the sidelines. I had never heard of that, but it clicked with me as an intensely cinematic situation.”

Kuritzkes says after watching the match, an idea “started brewing in [his] head”. He then became a “legitimate tennis fan” and started watching Challenger events.

“I thought it would be an interesting place for two guys who hadn’t seen each other  in a long time to meet again,” he says.

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Mike Faist and ZendayaMike Faist and Josh O'Connor

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A plethora of Challenger tournaments are held each year, with the ATP Challenger Tour being the second-tier tournament for men’s professional tennis. The circuit was established in 1978, and sits below the ATP World Tour in terms of both prize money and points.

Challenger events are often used by emerging players as a way to make their way up the world’s rankings, and also as a way to gain experience playing against experienced professionals before qualifying for the World Tour – tennis greats Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have all played in the Challenger circuit at some point of their careers.

What happened between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka?

Twenty-three-time Grand Slam winner Williams, 42, and Osaka, 26 – who was the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam singles title – have faced off against each other five times.

Osaka won three of the matches against Williams, with one of the most memorable victories being at the 2018 United States Open, when Williams received a penalty for being coached from the sidelines during the match.

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Serena Williams argues with the chair umpire Carlos Ramos during a match against Naomi Osaka

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It saw Williams become involved in an ugly dispute with the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos – he had warned Williams about rule violations due to what he said was Williams getting signals from her coach, but Williams disputed that and told Ramos she was not a cheater.

Williams then got another code violation when she smashed her racquet on the court after Osaka broke her serve, costing her a point.

Two games later, Williams told Ramos: ”You will never, ever be on a court of mine as long as you live. You owe me an apology. Say it. Say you’re sorry … I have never cheated in my life.”

Williams then called Ramos a “thief”, which saw her receive a third code violation for verbal abuse. That resulted in a game penalty, which put Osaka one game away from the championship.

“I know you guys were here rooting, and I was rooting, too, but let’s make this the best moment we can,” Williams told the booing crowd during the trophy presentation as she and Osaka cried.

“We’ll get through it … Let’s not boo anymore. Let’s get through this.”

Osaka said: ”I’m sorry it had to end like this.”

One year later, Williams – who suggested Ramos’ actions were motivated by sexism after the match – revealed she sent Osaka an apology letter.

“In the end, my opponent simply played better than me that day and ended up winning her first Grand Slam title,” Williams wrote in a first-person essay for Harper’s Bazaar.

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“I thought back to my first Grand Slam. It’s the one you remember best; it’s supposed to be the most special. This debacle ruined something that should have been amazing and historic,” she continued.

“Not only was a game taken from me but a defining, triumphant moment was taken from another player, something she should remember as one of the happiest memories in her long and successful career. My heart broke.”

Williams said she wrote to Osaka in the letter: “I am so proud of you and I am truly sorry.”

When Osaka responded, Williams said “tears rolled down” her face as she read the letter.

Williams said Osaka wrote to her in a letter: “People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can’t differentiate between the two … No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing.”

The International Tennis Federation defended Ramos’ integrity, saying “decisions were in accordance” with the Grand Slam Rulebook Code of Conduct. He retired in 2023.

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Title: Surprising real life tennis event that inspired Zendaya’s steamy new sports drama
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Published Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2024 04:04:00 GMT

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Cassie and Husband Alex Fine’s Relationship Timeline

Cassie and Husband Alex Fine s Relationship Timeline

Cassie and Alex Fine tied the knot less than one year after going public with their romance — and they’ve been going strong ever since.

“I felt really relaxed during the ceremony,” the singer, whose real name is Cassandra Ventura, told Vogue of the nuptials in October 2019. “As soon as I saw Alex, any nerves that I did have went away and I just couldn’t stop smiling.”

Cassie and Fine welcomed their first baby, daughter Frankie, two months after their wedding. Their second daughter, Sunny, was born in March 2021.

Keep scrolling for a look at Cassie and Fine’s love story over the years:

December 2018

Cassie and Husband Alex Fine s Relationship Timeline
Courtesy of Alex Fine/Instagram
Cassie debuted her romance with Fine by sharing an Instagram photo of them kissing. The upload came two months after Cassie split from ex-boyfriend Sean “Diddy” Combs after dating on and off for 11 years. Cassie went on to sue Diddy in November 2023, claiming that the rapper began a pattern of control and abuse after they met in 2005.

“After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships,” she said in a statement.

Diddy vehemently denied the allegations.

“Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations. For the past six months, Mr. Combs has been subjected to Ms. Ventura’s persistent demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail,” his lawyer Ben Brafman said in a statement. “Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms. Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs’s reputation and seeking a payday.”

Us Weekly confirmed one day after the lawsuit was filed that Cassie and Diddy reached a settlement.

June 2019

Cassie and Husband Alex Fine s Relationship Timeline
Courtesy of Alex Fine/Instagram

Cassie announced that she and Fine were expecting their first baby.

“Can’t wait to meet our baby girl 💗 Love You Always & Forever,” she captioned Instagram snaps of herself and Fine in a car.

August 2019

Fine asked the “Me & U singer” to marry him with a cowboy-themed proposal. The professional bull rider wore a cowboy hat and rode a horse over to Cassie before popping the question.

“When he got down on one knee, everything just stopped,” Cassie told Vogue in October 2019 of the romantic moment. “I felt like I lost my sense of hearing. I saw just his mouth moving and he said, ‘I Want to spend the rest of my life with you.’ I will never forget how special Alex made me feel that night.”

September 2019

Two months after getting engaged, Cassie and Fine had a backyard wedding in Malibu.

“We wanted a simple venue with a beautiful view that felt warm and romantic,” Cassie told Vogue of the big day. “We wanted the aesthetic to reflect how comfortable and content we feel with each other.”

December 2019

The pair became parents with the birth of their daughter Frankie.

“I can’t explain the amount of unconditional love and adoration that I have for my family,” Casie captioned a September 2020 carousel of Instagram photos of herself and Fine with their newborn. “I wake up everyday so thankful and happy to have my own. I will never take it for granted and will always feel honored to be able to experience this kind of love. Slowing down and simply enjoying each other has been a motto for us. We don’t need a lot, everything we need is right here.

December 2020

Cassie announced that she and Fine had another baby on the way.

“Coming soon …,” she captioned an Instagram video of then-12-month-old Frankie rubbing her baby bump as Fine held her hand.

March 2021

Cassie and Husband Alex Fine s Relationship Timeline
Courtesy of Casandra Fine/Instagram

The couple expanded their family with the birth of daughter Sunny.

“Welcome to the world baby girl! We love you so much Sunny Cinco Fine!” Cassie captioned a series of Instagram photos of her newborn.

March 2023

Cassie and Husband Alex Fine s Relationship Timeline
Courtesy of Alex Fine/Instagram

Fine counted his blessings while commemorating his 30th birthday via Instagram, including “a wife I love [who] loves me” and “two babies that make my heart grow bigger every time they smile.”

August 2023

Cassie and Husband Alex Fine s Relationship Timeline
Courtesy of Casandra Fine/Instagram
Cassie penned a sweet tribute to Fine in honor of the twosome’s wedding anniversary.
“A day late, but had to make sure I showed ALL MY LOVE to this man! My husband! Happy 4th Anniversary to my Best Friend. There’s no one like you in this world,” the musician captioned a photo of the duo smiling.

She continued: “You have the biggest heart and the funniest sense of humor, your curiosity about life still surprises me and warms my heart everyday. I grow more and more and more and more in love with you as time goes on and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Most important of all, you’re only person that can actually make me laugh until I pee my pants – that says a lot. Thank you for loving me the way you do. I LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH!! ♥♥♥♥.”

May 2024

After CNN shared resurfaced footage of Diddy allegedly assaulting Cassie back in 2016, Fine penned an open letter to his wife and family.

“I want my kids and every kid to live in a world that’s safe for women and girls, protects them and treats them as equals,” Fine wrote via Instagram. “To the women and children, you’re not alone, and you are heard. if you need help call the domestic violence hotline at (800) 799-7233.”

He continued, “Men who hit women aren’t men. Men who enable it and protect these people aren’t men. As men, violence against women shouldn’t be inevitable, check your brothers, your friends and your family. Our daughters, sisters, mothers and wives should feel protected and loved. Hold the women in your life with the upmost regard. Men who hurt women hate women.”


By: Sara Donnellan
Title: Cassie and Husband Alex Fine’s Relationship Timeline
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Published Date: Sat, 18 May 2024 17:41:30 +0000

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Tiger Woods missed the PGA Championship cut but his legacy played on

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Tiger Woods has always played to win. Since turning professional in 1996, he has won 82 tournaments, including 15 major championships. Perhaps, more astonishing than the victories and majors is the 142-event made cut streak that lasted over a seven-year period from 1998 to 2005, when he was the most dominant golfer that the game has ever seen.

Woods never said he was the greatest. He didn’t need to. “There is no sense in going to a tournament if you don’t believe that you can win it,” he once said.

Yet, coming into the PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, Woods was circumspect about his chances of hoisting his fifth Wanamaker Trophy. Asked about the state of his game, he admitted that he was rusty and that the barrage of injuries had taken a toll on his body. “I can still hit shots,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s getting around is more of the difficulty that I face day-to-day and the recovery of pushing myself either in practice or in competition days.”

When the tournament began on Thursday, Woods, who was making his 23rd appearance in the PGA Championship, performed like the part-time player that he has become over the last several years. On his way to a 1-over par 72, the 48-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer hit a smattering of good shots but hardly kept pace in a first round that saw a record 64 players shoot under par scores.

“It’s just the competitive flow,” he said after the round. “It took me probably three holes to get back into competitive flow again and get a feel for hitting the ball out there in competition, adrenaline, temperatures, green speeds. These are all things that normally I adjust to very quickly, and it just took me a few holes to get into it.”

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Tiger Woods holds the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 82nd PGA Championship on Aug. 20, 2000, at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

David Cannon/Getty Images

By Friday afternoon, the tournament had been temporarily upstaged by the early morning arrest of Scottie Scheffler, the game’s No. 1 ranked player, for allegedly disobeying a police officer’s order at the entrance to the Valhalla Golf Club. Looking invincible like the Woods of old, Scheffler settled down after the shock of being handcuffed and hauled off to jail to shoot a 5-under par 66 to go into the weekend with a chance to win his second major of the year after taking the Masters last month. As Scheffler went off to answer questions about spending time in a Louisville holding cell, Woods was starting his round and would need a good one to avoid missing just his 15th cut in 93 major appearances.

Starting his second round two shots off the projected cut of 1 under par, Woods went seven over par in his first four holes to guarantee that he would miss the cut. It’s hard to imagine a worst scenario for a player already battling competitive rust and old age in a game dominated by much younger players. Here he was looking ahead to the next tournament, the next opportunity to show that he could still play at next month’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst, but stuck for five hours on a golf course where he had solidified his legend 24 years earlier in an epic duel with Bob May at the 2000 PGA Championship.

Back then when Woods was in the morning of his career, he turned the Jack Nicklaus-designed Valhalla Golf Club into a theater with a two-act play and May as his benevolent antagonist. In the final round in 2000, they matched each other shot for shot, creating a drama unprecedented in televised golf history. Then in the three-hole aggregate playoff, Woods survived to win by one stroke. That victory at Valhalla was the third leg of the Tiger Slam, which climaxed when Woods won the 2001 Masters.

But these are different times in the game of golf. In 2000, the PGA Tour was in the beginning of a period of monumental growth as an outsized talent with a mixed racial heritage was transforming what had long been identified as a country club sport played mostly by white people. To many, Woods was the game and the PGA Tour was his home. Now, no longer the masterful player capable of holding your attention for hours on Sunday with his feats of excellence, Woods has become a senior statesman in the game and a defender of what he has helped to build in the sport over the last 30 years.

As the biggest name on both the PGA Tour Policy Board and the PGA Tour Enterprises Board, Woods has become one of the most powerful figures in negotiations between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which funds LIV Golf. During what is turning out to be a slow and painful exit from competitive golf, Woods is helping to set the direction of the future of the game.

At Valhalla, he took on his new role.

“We’re trying to make the PGA TOUR the best it can be day-in and day-out,” he said Tuesday. “That’s one of the reasons why we have arguments and we have disagreements, but we want to do what’s best for everyone in golf and the TOUR.”

About the PGA Tour’s negotiations with LIV Golf, he said, “we’re making steps and it may not be giant steps, but we’re making steps.”

Easily missing the cut at the PGA Championship after a six-over par 77 on Friday, Woods didn’t take any steps toward reclaiming a place at the top of the pecking order of the best players. At Valhalla, he still commanded the biggest galleries like he did when he won there 24 years ago. Back then, he was looked upon by many as the savior of the game, who gave an inspiring and life-changing sermon on Sunday afternoons with his golf clubs.

That seemingly ubiquitous presence on Sundays is waning, but his star still shines brightly over these players still playing on the weekend on a stage he set for them.


By: Farrell Evans
Title: Tiger Woods missed the PGA Championship cut but his legacy played on
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Published Date: Sat, 18 May 2024 16:07:58 +0000

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Revisit Amy Winehouse’s Celebration For “Rehab” Winning Record Of The Year In 2008 | GRAMMY Rewind

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When the world first heard Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ in 2006, the album changed pop music forever with its nostalgic, trauma-stricken grief, becoming her most enduring legacy. In honor of the beloved beehive-wearing chanteuse and the release of a new Winehouse biopic, also titled Back to Black, celebrates her life and timeless music. Look back at the 50th GRAMMY Awards in 2008, when she won her first five GRAMMYs, including Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year for “Rehab” as well as Best New Artist.

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Recording Academy is the world’s leading society of musical professionals and is dedicated to celebrating, honoring, and sustaining music’s past, present and future.

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By: Recording Academy / GRAMMYs
Title: Revisit Amy Winehouse’s Celebration For “Rehab” Winning Record Of The Year In 2008 | GRAMMY Rewind
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