Sports movies are one genre that is almost always a good watch. The story of an underdog, working hard against the odds, getting to the summit, almost getting defeated and then, a miracle! This is something that we see happening in the world of sports regularly. Some of the most memorable sporting triumphs have the best scripts for a classic movie!
Normally making movies on a team sport is almost always a sure shot hit compared to individual sports.
One can involve more characters and stories in it. There are some all-time classics made on baseball (A League of their own, The Sandlot and Field of Dreams), Football (Rudy & Remember the Titans), Hockey (Miracle) and of course Boxing (Rocky).
But tennis is a sport that has very few great classic movies made on it. Here we shall look at six of those that are a must-watch for all the tennis fans.
Wimbledon: A Romantic Comedy from 2004
Peter Colt is a British player whose ranking has slipped from 11th to 119th in the world. He is rich, has lost his motivation and in his 30s. He has accepted that he isn’t good enough to win anything despite getting a wildcard to play in Wimbledon. But just then he meets a young American female player, Lizzie Bradbury.
Their romance flourishes as they both progress through Wimbledon. They make love just before the semi-final which Peter wins but Lizzie loses. Enter Lizzie’s overprotective father-cum-manager who persuades Lizzie to dump Peter and go back to America.
She is at the airport waiting to go back when she watches Peter’s interview on TV apologising and expressing his love for Lizzie. She rushes back to Wimbledon where Peter is down two sets already and is behind in the third. Like every great Wimbledon match, this one also has a rain delay!
They meet in the dressing room and Lizzie forgives him. Peter goes on to win the match in an epic five-setter and they get married after that. Lizzie herself becomes a multi Grand Slam winner as well! Its a must watch classic rom-com.
7 Days in Hell: An Isner-Mahut Inspired Mocumentary
Remember the epic John Isner v Nicolas Mahut match that never ended. Well, this 2015 “mockumentary” has taken the idea of a never-ending match and given it new turn!
Aaron Williams is an adopted white brother of Serena and Venus Williams. He is the ultimate bad boy of tennis. He flips a bird at the Queen in Wimbledon and pushes Prince Edward in the post-match ceremony. His shot in the 1996 Wimbledon hits a line judge who dies on the spot. A failed clothing line and pornography addiction land him in a Swedish jail!
On the other hand, Charles Poole is a British child prodigy, who is forced into the sport by his mother. He is on track to become the youngest professional tennis player in history at 15 and idolises Aaron Williams. But in 2001 he claims that he is a better player than Williams. This comment reaches Williams who is a free man now and comes back to Wimbledon to challenge Poole.
What follows is a seven-day epic match between the two which includes Queen Elizabeth calling Poole, a threesome on the centre court, Poole hitting Williams with a truck and what not!! Eventually, both the players kill each other on the court but the match never ends! It is a must-watch if you are looking for a laugh riot for an hour!
Borg vs McEnroe: Epic Sports Drama of the Great Rivalry
The two gladiators of tennis, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe go head to head in 1980 Wimbledon final which is considered to be one of the greatest matches of all time. Borg was going for his fifth straight championship at the event.
This epic match was turned into this all-time classic movie that covered the rise of both players, their rivalry and this epic match. This match was a melting pot for both the players who had been building this up as a grudge match. The rivalry was so intense and fierce that eventually, the match made the pair very close friends.
Its an extremely well-made movie using the correct amount of real footage and drama. It doesn’t go overboard on either side. It’s neither an outright documentary nor a drama, its the perfect balance in between of a story about two giants of the game. A must watch for every tennis lover.
Venus and Serena: Unprecedented Access to Behind the Scenes
Venus Williams and Serena Williams, these are two names that have dominated the world of female tennis for almost two decades now. This movie is no holds barred behind the scenes into their lives, ambitions, families and daily struggles.
It’s about the journey of two sisters born 15 months apart and both choosing to the same sport. The struggle of their family, especially by their father who wanted to make not one but both the sisters the number one in the world. The discrimination they had to face being players of colour and how media made them borderline villains at times.
The world has looked both of them with awe, appreciation, suspicion and envy at times. And the mental and physical the fight not only on the court but also off it has taken on this great pair. Its a movie of courage, fight and inspiration.
BreakPoint: Comedy Film About Two Brothers
Jimmy Price has had his days in the tennis sun and with age has been losing his friends on the tour. One by one, he has burnt all the bridges on the tour. He now has no one who would partner him in doubles as he decides to quit. He is on the verge of accepting its time to hang up his boots.
But just then he finds that his old younger brother and old tennis partner, Darren has been fired from his teaching job and is unemployed. So he decides to reignite their frosty relationship to convince him to partner him in doubles. What follows is a hilarious sequence of events as the brothers try to put their differences aside and find their chemistry again.
It’s a hilarious story of two brothers trying to work their way to the top of the game with the help of their 11-year-old friend, Barry. It’s a light-hearted comedy that shall get you through a boring afternoon!
Unmatched: Rivalry and Friendship of Martina Navratilova & Chris Evert
If Bjorn Born and John McEnroe was a rivalry that turned to friendship, this story is entirely in reverse. Navratilova and Evert had been lifelong friends first and then became great rivals on the court. The movie was part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series.
It features conversations between the two players as they talk about challenges, health, controversy, rivalry and all things tennis. Navratilova has won 58 Grand Slam titles across all categories and one of the “Top Forty Athletes of All Time” by Sports Illustrated. Evert, on the other hand, won 21 Grand Slams and reached more slam finals than any player ever.
This is a classic movie about their friendship, rivalry and focuses on some less known areas of their lives. For example, Navratilova coming out as gay and the backlash she faced, her health issues and dealing with fame as well as how Navratilova helped Evert in meeting her second husband.
So that was our top six must-watch movies on tennis. Do let us know what you think or if you have another great movie in mind!