Zendaya Challengers Red Carpet Looks Are Tenniscore Chic


Photography by Getty Images

She never misses!

If there’s one thing Zendaya is superb at, it’s setting trends. When it comes to turning out certified *looks* on the red carpet, the actor and her longtime stylist (and former FASHION cover star) Law Roach never miss. There are a few reasons for this: Roach’s styling is impeccable, the pair have access to a deep catalogue of designers’ collections and archives, plus Zendaya could wear an actual paper bag and make it look high fashion. But it’s also thanks in large part to their love for method dressing.

We saw it on the Dune: Part Two press tour earlier this year, with the Emmy-winner making Sandworm chic a thing, and now she’s doing the same with her latest film. And this time, she’s bringing tenniscore back. Promoting her upcoming film Challengers in Europe, Zendaya and Roach have taken tennis from the courts to the red carpet, drawing on their love for archival pieces in both literal and thematic ways to channel the film’s characters and story.

ICYMI, the film — set to be released in theatres on April 26 — follows Zendaya’s character Tashi, a Serena Williams-esque professional tennis player who, after an injury, switches to coaching. Joining her on her journey are love interests, friends and professional rivals Patrick (Josh O’Connor) and Art (Mike Faist), both vying for Tashi’s affection in a sweaty, erotic and grunt-filled story. Excuse me while I fan myself. In a word, it’s going to be HOT — let’s just say there are murmurings of a ménage à trois in the film. And so far, Zendaya’s Challengers red carpet looks are equally spicy.

Kicking off the press tour overseas in Australia on March 26, Zendaya set the tone by walking the red carpet in a custom Loewe gown with a tennis player motif.

The next day, she gave us a contemporary take on tennis whites, donning a custom tank top and sheer skirt with briefs by Lacoste, a brand founded by tennis legend René Lacoste.

What makes Z’s looks unique is the fact that she’s not just throwing on a stretchy tennis dress and calling it a day (although she would completely rock that look), but rather leaning into the vintage aesthetic of the sport, presenting elevated but familiar silhouettes with a level of glamour we might not typically see from athleisure trends.

On April 6, Zendaya kicked off her Paris photo call for the film in a checker-printed coat from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2013 collection. As Glamour noted, the apple green colour of the coat isn’t a coincidence, as Z and Roach have been using this green hue as a nod to tennis throughout the run so far, like with the aforementioned Loewe tennis court gown. Paired with a white headband, white pumps and a retro up-do, the cheeky look was a clear nod to 1960s sophistication, merging the sport and high fashion seamlessly.

Days later at the Rome premiere of the film, Zendaya once again married tennis with glamour, rocking a silver sleeveless Loewe dress with a pleated skirt whose silhouette was reminiscent of vintage tennis whites. And the pièce de résistance? Tennis ball heels. C’est chic as heck!

And she’s not the only one serving tenniscore looks. While Zendaya may be elevating the tennis core trend to red carpet heights, designers have been leaning into it, along with the resurgence of the preppy trend, for the past several years.

This is in large part due to the fact that the sport of tennis, which has long been a symbol of luxury, has become more popular. In January 2023, Netflix released the documentary series Break Point, which gave viewers a BTS look at top tennis players and tournaments, introducing a whole new audience to the iconic sport. Additionally, the pandemic forcing people to come up with new ways to exercise outdoors prompted a large spike in people taking up tennis.

Coupled with the enduring ubiquity of quiet luxury and a desire for classic pieces that will stand the test of time, it should come as no surprise that #tenniscore is taking off. And the runways have been taking note in recent years. Miu Miu’s Fall 2022 collection had an athletic aesthetic, featuring white pleated miniskirts and athletic arm bands. (Later that year, the brand also launched Miu Miu Tennis Club, a tennis-themed event in Saint-Tropez.) Similarly, Lacoste’s Spring 2022 show debuted jersey knits, polos and visors, and brands like Sporty & Rich have consistently paid homage to the sport with tennis dresses and skirts in their collections — actual racquet skills not required.

With Zendaya giving tenniscore her signature high fashion touch on the Challengers red carpet, we’re betting this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So, tennis anyone?

Luckily you don’t need your own Law Roach in order to try the tenniscore trend. Check out our top tennis-inspired shopping picks below. 

Casablanca yellow printed long sleeve t-shirt


Why not don an image of a tennis player on your shirt? This mesh top has everything we could ever want in a themed tee, from a vintage motif to sorbet colours that are perfect for the warmer weather.

Pair this tee with a pleated tennis skirt for a full court-ready look, or don it with a pair of low-rise, baggy jeans and sneakers to dress it down.

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Reformation brinley skirt


A versatile piece that’ll stand the test of time long after the sun sets on #tenniscore, a pleated skirt is a go-to staple of any tennis-inspired wardrobe. We particularly love that this Reformation skirt has pockets and a cargo look to it.

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Anthropologie Jeffrey Campbell netted flats


Because we’re not *all* Zendaya and shan’t be rocking six-inch stilettos on the regular, a chic and comfortable alternative to a heel or sneaker is a trendy flat. A mesh flat not only looks cute, but is perfect for the toasty spring and summer months and it literally giving tennis net. Love!

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Coach Ergo bag in checkerboard patchwork


If green and white is good enough for Zendaya, it’s definitely good enough for us. Looking to channel tenniscore without going so literal? Take a page our of Law Roach’s book and pay homage to the trend through your colour scheme.

Working in a little tennis ball green via an accessory like this adorable handbag can go a long way in conveying your love for the game and the aesthetic.

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Mejuri diamond half tennis bracelet


Nothing says tennis more than a tennis bracelet. A string of diamonds, real or faux, will add some much-needed glamour to your athleisure vibe.

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