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Coco Gauff's coach helped Zendaya prepare for 'Challengers' and said she picked up tennis 'fairly well'

Coco Gauff at the 2024 Time "Women of the Year" Gala
Coco Gauff at the Time Women of the Year Gala on March 5, 2024.Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images
  • Coco Gauff's coach, Brad Gilbert, helped train Zendaya for her upcoming tennis film "Challengers."

  • In an interview with BI, Gauff said Gilbert told her that Zendaya picked up tennis "fairly well."

  • Zendaya sent Gauff a 50-pound flower bouquet when Gauff won her first Grand Slam.

When Zendaya needed to learn how to play tennis for her upcoming film "Challengers," she asked the Olympian and former pro Brad Gilbert to train her.

Coco Gauff, who added Gilbert to her coaching team before winning the US Open in September 2023, got him to spill on working with the movie star.

"I asked him how Zendaya was able to pick up the tennis and everything, and he said she was able to pick it up fairly well for someone who didn't really play," Gauff told Business Insider on the red carpet at Time's Women of the Year gala in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Coco Gauff with her coach Brad Gilbert
Gauff with her coach, Brad Gilbert. Robert Prange/Getty Images

"He also helped with the backgrounds, the body doubles, and I just asked him how it was filming a movie," she added. "Brad's not a Hollywood guy at all, so it was very out of the ordinary for him as well."

According to The New York Times, Zendaya called Gilbert in 2022 and asked for his help on "Challengers," the new Luca Guadagnino film that follows a former tennis prodigy and her complicated relationship with two players.

Zendaya being kissed by two guys on a bed
Zendaya with Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist in "Challengers." MGM

Gilbert told the Times in September 2023 that he trained Zendaya for three months in California, which included watching matches at Pepperdine University, and helped during the four months of rehearsal and filming in New York and Boston. He also trained her costars, Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist, and helped design action scenes for the matches.

He told the Times that Zendaya had texted him during the US Open and said she was "all in on Gauff." The 19-year-old went on to win her first Grand Slam title and received a massive bouquet from the "Dune" star.

Coco Gauff kisses her 2023 US Open trophy.
Coco Gauff kisses her 2023 US Open trophy.REUTERS/Mike Segar

"The messages you get from celebrities are crazy," Gauff told the Tennis Channel after her big win. "The coolest thing that happened to me was Zendaya sent me flowers to my house. It was a huge bouquet of flowers. My brother and I, we struggled to lift it up on the table. I think it weighed at least 50 pounds. It was so heavy."

Gauff, one of the 12 honorees for Time's 2024 Women of the Year list, told BI she can't wait to see "Challengers."

"I'm so excited for the movie," she said. "Obviously I love Zendaya, and I love tennis, so it feels like my worlds kind of meshed together."

Read the original article on Business Insider