Dynamite doubles pro Kaitlyn Christian can be seen on-court competing in WTA tournaments, but in her off time, she’s the unsung hero of sports films as the sought-after body double for women tennis stars of generations past.
Christian, who's now 30 years old and plays with the VC 8 300g, coincidentally fell into acting at around the same time as her racquet switch.
“It happened by complete chance,” says former USC All-American Christian about the opportunity of portraying WTA founder and equal rights trailblazer Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes, as Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone’s double. “The next thing you know, I played some tennis and got the part.”
It’s no surprise that Christian would seal the deal and be signed on-board, given her track record on-court at USC and easy-going outlook on learning how to embody King’s likeness on the silver screen.
“I got to spend some time with her on the court; she would teach me how she played including what grips she held,” says Christian about King, who walked her through how to properly use a wooden racquet for starters. “It was such a cool experience just spending time with her.”
The native Southern Californian, who has been ranked as high as top 50 on the WTA tour, earned her diploma just a stone’s throw away from the epicenter of Tinseltown and its renowned “Hollywood” sign. She was on the same Fighting Trojan all-star squad as fellow Volkl player Sabrina Santamaria, who initially introduced her to her racquet which she describes as “sturdy”. The pair were No. 1 in the ITA rankings, leading USC to its first-ever NCAA doubles championships together, plus they even teamed up on the tour afterwards.
In between her stops on-tour, Christian recently squeezed in yet another body-double role in the Hollywood blockbuster film, King Richard. In one of the film’s most defining moments, Shaun Stafford (portrayed by Christian) faces one of her biggest matches yet: a first-round date at the Bank of the West Classic against newcomer 14-year-old Venus Williams (Saniyya Sidney).
On Oscar Sunday, King Richard is up for six Academy Awards. During the awards ceremony, Kaitlyn says she’ll be watching from Marbella, Spain, as she’s competing in a tournament there. In an effort to have a healthy work-life balance, she tries to take in a bit of every city she visits on the WTA tour with this trip being no exception.
“I made this rule with myself because I was getting consumed with playing, that every tournament, I want to see at least one thing – every week I try and block out one day before and after the tennis.”
A recipe for a balanced lifestyle, both on and off the court.