Anyone for tennis? In the movies that is

Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason in Borg McEnroeImage copyright
Curzon Artificial Eye

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Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason play the title characters in Borg McEnroe

Two new tennis films have taken advantage of Wimbledon fever by releasing trailers this week.

One recreates the fabled rivalry between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, while the other tells of Billie Jean King’s famous 1973 exhibition match with showman Bobby Riggs.

Shia LaBeouf plays “Super Mac” opposite Sverrir Gudnason’s “Ice” Borg in Borg McEnroe, while Emma Stone and Steve Carell play Billie and Bobby in Battle of the Sexes.

Be warned though: the trailer for Borg McEnroe does contain some salty language.

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Fox Searchlight

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Steve Carell and Emma Stone clash rackets in Battle of the Sexes

Stone has been speaking out this week about pay disparity in Hollywood, revealing that some of her male co-stars have accepted a smaller salary in order to put them on an equal footing.

“In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them,” she told Out magazine. “And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair.”

Borg McEnroe reaches UK cinemas on 22 September, while Battle of the Sexes arrives on 20 October.

If you can’t wait that long, though, here are eight other films in which tennis makes an appearance.

Wimbledon

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Studio Canal/Working Title/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock

The obvious place to start is this 2004 effort, in which Paul Bettany plays a down-on-his-luck tennis pro inspired to up his game by new love Kirsten Dunst.

John McEnroe and Chris Evert are among the real-life players who make cameos in the film, while Pat Cash helped prepare the actors for their on-court scenes.

Players

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Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock

Wimbledon also features in this 1979 drama about a rising tennis star (Dean Paul Martin) who falls in love with an older woman (Ali McGraw).

John McEnroe makes an appearance in this movie as well, as do fellow players John Lloyd, Ilie Nastase and Vijay Amritraj.

Strangers on a Train

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This Alfred Hitchcock film from 1951 stars Farley Granger as a young tennis player whose life becomes entwined with that of a psychopath.

The tense finale sees Granger, pictured above with co-star Ruth Roman, struggling to finish a match at Forest Hills so he can stop the killer framing him for murder.

School for Scoundrels

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Terry-Thomas gives Ian Carmichael a lesson in gamesmanship in this 1960 British comedy, roundly thrashing him on the tennis court as his would-be girlfriend looks on.

The scene was reprised, with more comic violence, in the 2006 US remake starring Jon Heder and Billy Bob Thornton.

Match Point

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Jonathan Rhys-Meyers plays a tennis pro turned instructor who has an affair with a client’s fiancee in Woody Allen’s 2005 thriller.

Allen took to the court himself in his 1977 film Annie Hall, participating in a doubles match that marks the beginning of his romance with Diane Keaton’s title character.

Blow-Up

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One of cinema’s quirkier matches takes place in this 1966 oddity, in which a couple of mime artists pretend to play tennis without rackets – or a ball.

Among those looking on is photographer David Hemmings, who gamely throws the invisible ball back when called upon to do so.

A Good Year

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Ridley Scott’s 2006 rom-com sees Russell Crowe play a frenetic match against a Provencal wine-maker to the sound of Harry Nilsson’s Jump into the Fire.

His opponent’s dog is named Tati after famous French comic Jacques, who played a memorable match himself in Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday.

The Apartment

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We’ll end with a special mention for Jack Lemmon, who playfully used a tennis racket to strain spaghetti in Billy Wilder’s 1960 classic.

“You’re pretty good with that racket,” marvels his dinner date Shirley MacLaine. “Wait until you see me serve the meatballs,” he replies.


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