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Challengers ending explained after cryptic post from Zendaya | Films | Entertainment

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Warning – the following article contains major spoilers for Challengers

Challengers is finally releasing this weekend, and a cryptic post from Zendaya has fans’ heads in a spin.

The new drama from Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino features the Spider-Man star as former tennis prodigy Tashi Duncan.

She’s forced to step away from her promising career as a star athlete following a devastating injury and turns her attention to coaching her husband Art Donaldson (played by Mike Faist).

However, their relationship is threatened when her ex-boyfriend and Art’s former best friend Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor) returns to take on her husband in a pivotal Challenger match in New Rochelle, New York.

Read more: Zendaya and Tom Holland are more loved-up than ever as they share cute moment

Ahead of the film’s opening weekend, Zendaya took to her Instagram story with a cryptic image of a tennis ball in the throat of a racket.

She captioned the post “iykyk (if you know, you know)”, but what does the post mean, and how does it relate to the climactic match between Art and Patrick?

Earlier in the film, Art and Patrick are competing over Tashi after attempting to woo her at a party after she wins the Junior Open in 2006.

She accepts an invite to their hotel room and the three of them kiss but don’t sleep together – Tashi then tells them she’ll give her number to whoever manages to beat the other.

Patrick wins the match and, later, the two friends are practicing when Art asks if they slept together. Patrick refuses to spill, but his friend suggests he serves in a specific way if he’s right about him and Tashi.

Patrick doesn’t confirm they had sex verbally but copies Art’s “tic” where he places the ball in the throat of his racket before serving, revealing they did, in fact, sleep with each other.

He goes on to have a long-distance relationship with Tashi, but the three become estranged and she eventually marries and has a daughter with Art.

Back in 2019, Tashi and Art’s marriage is now on the rocks and hinging on Art coming out on top at the Challenger tournament. Tashi warns her husband he’ll leave her if he loses, but secretly enters a bargain with Patrick after sneaking out at night to visit him.

Tashi asks Patrick to lose the next day, as she believes it will give him the motivation he needs to continue his career and eventually win the Open.

Patrick reluctantly agrees and has sex with Tashi in the car before she sneaks back to the hotel. But, the next day, the two players are evenly matched and Patrick is refusing to throw the match.

Patrick grows frustrated late in the game and begins to purposefully lose points before he tries another tactic. Recalling their session from years back, he places the ball in the throat of the racket before serving, wordlessly taunting Art that he and Tashi had sex the night before.

Art is furious and lets Patrick’s score catch up to another tiebreak. He’s then spurred on by Patrick’s shocking revelation and wins the match fairly, leaping over the net to embrace his old friend while Tashi cheers from the sidelines.

What happens next is up to interpretation as the credits roll immediately afterward, but it’s suggested that Art and Patrick could become close friends again despite Tashi’s infidelity.

Challengers is in cinemas now.

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