After being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, Wimbledon is back with a ‘thwack’ – so what better way to get warmed up for some thrilling Centre Court action, than to sit on your sofa with a bowl of strawberries and cream, and watch 10 of the best tennis movies and documentaries ever made. “You cannot be serious!” Oh yes, we are…
We had to start a list of tennis movies with ‘Wimbledon’. Paul Bettany stars as Peter Colt, a frustrated ex-professional tennis player now giving private lessons. But after he gets a wild-card berth in Wimbledon, he decides to try for glory one more time – and finds inspiration, and love, when he meets American player Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst).
Director: Richard Loncraine
Venus and Serena (2012)
This extraordinary and addictive documentary film takes an inside look at the lives and careers of tennis’ most successful siblings, Venus and Serena Williams, as they battle health problems and media controversy while drawing strength from each other. When many would’ve simply given up, a decade on, they’re still winning and taking part in this year’s Wimbledon.
Director: Maiken Baird & Michelle Major
The Prince of Tennis (2006)
Adapted from a famous Japanese manga comic series, twelve-year-old tennis prodigy Echizen Ryoma (Kanata Hongo) returns to Japan to enrol in a prestigious school, after winning four titles in the USA. There, he must prove himself to the school tennis team, while juggling exams, girls, and pressure from his overbearing father.
Director: Yuichi Abe
Borg vs McEnroe (2017)
An inspirational documentary approach to, perhaps, the greatest sporting rivalry of all time, the tennis matches between Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf) were epic encounters – full of drama, emotion and intensity. In the summer of 1980, Borg is after a record-breaking fifth Wimbledon title, but the talented, hot-headed McEnroe is determined to stop him.
Director: Janus Metz
Match Point (2005)
In Woody Allen’s first film set in London, tennis instructor and social climber Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) befriends wealthy student Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), and just to get a job with their millionaire father, hatches a plan to marry his sister. But when Chris starts falling for Tom’s girlfriend Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson), his new social status is threatened.
Director: Woody Allen
7 Days in Hell (2015)
Time for a bit of tennis film fun – tennis champions Aaron Williams (comedian Andy Samberg) and Charles Poole (Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington) have a bitter rivalry, enough to challenge each other to a match lasting a gruelling seven days. The mockumentary hilariously spoofs the mostly serious world of tennis documentaries, such as er, Borg vs McEnroe.
Director: Jake Szymanski
Love Means Zero (2017)
At his tennis academy in Florida, coach and mentor Nick Bollettieri raised a generation of tennis champions such as Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Andre Agassi. The documentary charts his desire to be the greatest ever coach, but one which came at terrible price – including broken marriages, money trouble, and ruining his relationship with his cherished student, Agassi.
Director: Jason Kohn
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018)
One of the best sports documentaries you’ll ever watch, the film is a compelling analysis of the famously temperamental American tennis player, with thrilling archive footage of him competing in the 1984 French Open. The movie is a complex portrait of the young athlete as a true artist of his sport, and at a time when he was most dominant.
Director: Julien Faraut
Andy Murray: Resurfacing (2019)
Considered Britain’s greatest ever tennis player, this documentary film tracks Murray’s journey from 2017 to 2019 – from a devastating injury to coming back to play again at the highest level. Throughout his painstaking rehabilitation, the famously stoic two-time Wimbledon champion shows his strength of character and a study of his vulnerable side.
Director: Olivia Cappuccini
Battle of the Sexes (2017)
One of the most recent big Hollywood tennis movies, Battle of the Sexes recounts the princess of tennis Billie Jean King’s (Emma Stone) 1973 match against misogynist Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), who believed women players should ‘get back in the kitchen. Also, check out the original documentary film The Battle of the Sexes (2013) narrated by Billie Jean King herself. it would be a crime to miss it.
Director: Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton
That’s game, set and match for this tennis movies list and a rundown of the tennis movie genre best(!)… Hopefully, this has served up some great tennis movies and tennis documentaries for you to enjoy (or even think about re-watching some of them). Agree? Disagree? Are there any other tennis movies or epic tennis documentaries you would recommend? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment on our socials.
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