Netflix’s Break Point: ‘Every week you’re a loser.’ The brutal world of tennis



Nick Kyrgios, one of the stars of the show, may not have seen it yet, while former world No. 1 Andy Murray says he has no interest in watching it. But Netflix’s new fly-on-the-wall documentary ‘Break Point’ has made plenty of headlines since its release this month.

The documentary, which focuses on the next generation of tennis stars, is produced by the team that produced the hit Formula 1 Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’.

It aims to showcase the sport’s young talent to the world, who were asked to step out of the shadows of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic (and, at the time of filming, Roger Federer and Serena Williams as they had not yet retired). .

Tennis wants to capture a new audience as it prepares itself for a new era of the game, one without its bankable stars, generational talents who have become household names.

One way to achieve this objective is for the cameras to follow 10 ATP and WTA players throughout the season and hope they make tennis exciting, glamorous and dramatic, much like ‘Drive to Survive’ did for F1. had done

It doesn’t quite succeed because the tennis-traveling soap opera isn’t F1. But talk of a ‘break point curse’ that has surfaced on social media this week may add to the story after six stars from the first five episodes of this year’s Australian Open pulled out before the tournament’s first weekend. Adds, while three injured out of the tournament

Only 22-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada remains in the singles draw.

“I thought it was funny,” he said when asked by reporters about the so-called curse. “I don’t know; I don’t think it’s connected.

“Maybe the players who have lost, maybe they feel it’s connected somehow. I don’t think they do. I don’t think it’s connected in any way. It’s funny how things work out sometimes. ”

By describing the basics of how games and sets work in one episode, the show clearly has a certain type of audience in mind – one that doesn’t know much about the game.

Most of the players – Maria Saccari, Taylor Fritz, Paula Badossa, Auger-Aliassim, Kasper Ruud – have many victories to achieve before becoming global stars, although they are all, at one time or another, in the world’s top 10.

Arguably the other on the show, Hugo Boss pinned Matteo Berretini and history-maker Ones Jabiur, who reached a Grand Slam final last year.

The series begins with the biggest star on his roll, Kyrgios, the Australian who has become accustomed to making headlines around the world, and not always because of the quality of his tennis.

The 27-year-old has been described on the show as the most talented player of his generation, yet he has not won a singles major, although he reached the Wimbledon final last year.

He is perhaps the epitome of the game’s so-called next generation, talented, yes, yet not completely broken and at risk of being usurped by the next wave of up-and-coming players.

Kyrgios had to withdraw from this year's Australian Open due to injury.

One episode opens a window into how Kyrgios struggled with fame and expectations after his sensational win over Nadal at Wimbledon when he was just 19.

The Australian talks about the isolation of the sport – competing week after week, moving from one hotel to another is not for him – and that he had a drink problem when he was younger.

“I had to be kind to myself, for my mental health. I can never be a player who plays all year round. I couldn’t do it,” he says.

He drank every night, he says, in his younger days as a professional, because his life was “spinning out of control,” while his manager, Daniel Horsfall, says he was on his phone searching for Kyrgios. Will use a tracking app. Her nights out.

“I would have your location on my phone and some mornings I would physically find out where you were, what hotel you were in, whose house you stayed at before tournaments, before matches,” says Horsfall. C,” says Horsfall. “It was hard.”

What becomes clear is that even for those who are successful — the protagonists may not be Grand Slam winners, but they are among the best players in the world — tennis is a brutal game.

There is a show that portrays the young elite of the game, and most of them have struggled mentally at some point in their young lives.

It’s a lonely world and, as American Fritz says in the episode that centers around his journey, “every week you’re a loser,” because only the likes of Nadal and Djokovic win most of the tournaments they enter. For others, even those who are very, very good, Defeat is frequent.

Spain’s Bedosa, once the world number two, is incredibly honest as she talks about how the game affected her mental health, how the pressure to succeed, to win, to move up in the rankings , became too much for him.

“People were talking about me like I was the next big thing, the next Maria Sharapova. I felt, ‘Wow, now I have to be a legend. Maybe next year I have to be a top 10 player.’ So, for me, it was a lot of pressure,” she revealed on the show in 2019, speaking for the first time about her struggles.

“A lot of people don’t talk about it because they feel like they’re going to be vulnerable, but I think it’s quite the opposite. I’m fighting so much mentally to try to find myself again.

Greek player Sakkari talks about how she couldn’t sleep for three days after losing to Barbora Krejcikova on match points in the French Open semi-finals – “I told my coaches I wanted to retire from tennis.”

Sakkari’s mother, a former tennis player, summed up the game: “Tennis players don’t just lose to their opponents, they lose to themselves.”

It’s only a small part, but a minor one as Jabeur’s husband, who is also her fitness coach for financial reasons – after a stellar season in 2022 it’s safe to assume those financial concerns no longer exist – children to his wife. Asks about producing.

Jabeur reached the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open last year, but failed to make the second week at this year's Australian Open.

The Tunisian, who last season became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final, looks coy as she talks about her desire to have children one day but for now, she is focusing on her career. The couple then shared a long hug.

This series shows what the individual sport of tennis is all about. Scurry said goodbye to his team and was driven to his match. No matter how large the team of players, they are on their own on the court, battling their opponents and their ideas.

The journey seems endless even for those who compete week-in, week-out. One tournament ends, another is set to begin.

And partly because of that, and partly because of the focus and dedication required to win tournaments, players don’t seem to experience much of the world where they endlessly roam.

During the Australian Open, cameras show Berretini and his then-girlfriend, Ajla Tomljanovic, also a professional tennis player, eating dinner in their hotel room, watching movies on their bed via a laptop.

Outside is Melbourne, one of the best cities in the world, yet they have a limited world; Practice courts, gyms, hotel rooms.

Does watching ‘break points’ make you jealous of tennis players? not really. Does it make you want to be a part of their world? not really. Does it make you question how such a lifestyle affects a person’s health? Sure.

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