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The Best Tennis Scenes in Film

The history making Australian Open has left us reeling with joy and happiness, and with a belief that this game we all love will continue to have incredible moments, even without some of the biggest names in the sport.


It's with this adoration for the game of tennis that I am always on the lookout for beautiful and fun depictions of our sport in film. Here is my list of the best 5 tennis scenes in film (movies and streamable series included).


Most beautiful: Legends of the Fall, 1994

Before everyone went bonkers over Yellowstone and the Dutton family, there was another Montana family, the Ludlow's. Raised by their father (Anthony Hopkins) on a remote ranch near the Montana mountains, Alfred (Aidan Quinn), Tristan (Brad Pitt), and Samuel (Henry Thomas) were quite possibly the most handsome trio in film. Their worlds are irreversibly changed when Samuel, the youngest brother, brings home his fiancé Susannah (Julia Ormond). Susannah is like the anti-Beth Dutton. She's pensive and refined with a lovely British accent, beautiful delicate features, and the most gorgeous long dark hair. This film was my introduction to Brad Pitt, and millennials who are curious as to what all the fuss is about, this is a good film to point them to. When it was released 28 years ago, women (and men) the world over fell in love with Brad as evidenced by the millions of twenty somethings named Tristan (average age of boys named Tristan is 24). There is a lovely scene where Samuel and Susannah are playing tennis with wooden racquets on a grass court. Tristan then rides up and says, "You guys look like a couple of ice cream cones." The cinematography is breathtaking, the music haunting, and the love story, tragic. Watch the scene here.



Most ridiculous: Friends from College, 2017


You don't even need to watch this scene with Keenan-Michael Key and Fred Savage playing tennis, you could just listen to it and appreciate how hilarious it is. I'm guilty of the occasional grunt or two when I play tennis. I'm somewhere between Ash Barty, who makes no sound and Victoria Azerenka, who you need to watch on mute. This is one of the funniest tennis scenes I've ever watched. Incidentally, I really liked this series, in spite of the lying, cheating nature of the characters. Watch the scene here.


Most Profound: The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001


More than wanting my children to be functional parts of society, it's my dying wish that they see all films by Wes Anderson. Although I had seen Rushmore before the Royal Tenenbaums, this was the film that solidified my spot on the Wes wagon. Gwyneth Paltrow's angsty character, complete with kohl lined eyes, smoking cigarettes in the bathroom with half a pinky finger was everything. Richie Tenebaum, the youngest of the dysfunctional Tenenbaum children, played by Luke Wilson, was a professional tennis player known as "the Baumer." His major meltdown at the US Nationals was sparked by learning of the marriage of his adopted sister Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), who he was secretly in love with. He ends the match in tears, sits on the court, removes his shoes and one sock. Watch the scene here.



Most Relatable: Bridesmaids, 2011


This Academy-Award nominated comedy depicts Annie (Kristen Wig) and Helen (Rose Byrne), in a battle over their friendship with Lillian (Maya Rudolph), the bride-to-be. The battle gets literal when they hit the court and the competition gets amped up. A classic case of "when fun tennis turns ugly."

Watch the scene here.


Most realistic: Divorce, 2016


This HBO comedy series is about the trials of a very long divorce. If you ever wondered, "How bad could it be?" This series will prove to you, it's a total shit show. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Sarah Jessica Parkers wardrobe was enough to keep me invested, and I have yet to watch anything with Molly Shannon that I don't love. In season two, Diane (Molly Shannon) convinces Dallas (Talia Balsam) to join her country club and gives her a personal tour with an elitist twist. I’m pretty sure every club has a Diane. Dallas meets with the handsome young membership advisor, and joins the club. In the next episode, Dallas takes a tennis lesson with the handsome advisor and asks him out. Clad in head-to-toe Tory Sport, hair down and blown out, full of confidence, she lands herself a date with a younger man. Not a bad start to a second life.


Do you have a favorite tennis scene? I’d love to know!


XO,

Val



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