Netflix Breaking Point: “Every week you’re a loser.” The brutal world of tennis



CNN

one of the stars of the show, Nick Kyrgios, He may not have seen it yet, while the former world No. 1 Britain’s Andy Murray He says he has no interest in watching it. But the new Netflix documentary “Break Point” has grabbed a lot 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’.

Its aim is to showcase to the world young talents in sport, those who tend to come out of the shadows Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic (and at the time of filming, Roger Federer and Serena Williams because they haven’t retired yet).

Tennis wants to gain a new audience as it prepares for the sport’s new age, one without its bankable stars, the generational talents that have become household names.

Perhaps one way to achieve this goal is to have the cameras follow 10 ATP and WTA players throughout the season and hopefully make tennis look exciting, glamorous and dramatic, as Formula 1’s “Drive to Survive” did.

It doesn’t quite work because tennis isn’t the mobile F1 TV series. But talk of a “breaking point curse” cropping up on social media this week may add a little something to the narrative after six of the stars who appeared in the first five rings of this year’s Australian Open exited before the first weekend of the tournament, while three withdrew. injured from the tournament.

Only Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, 22, is left 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 lose, maybe they feel connected in some way. I don’t think they do. I don’t think it’s connected, anyway. It’s funny how things go sometimes.”

Although not one of the stars of the show, Rafael Nadal's presence looms large in the first five episodes as his greatness was evident.

By describing the basics of how games and combos work in the first episode, it’s clear that the show has a certain type of audience in mind – someone who doesn’t know much about sports.

Most of the superstars—Maria Sakkari, Taylor Fritz, Paula Badosa, Auger-Aliassime, Kasper Rudd—had plenty of wins before becoming international stars, even though all of them were, at one point or another, in the world. top 10.

Others on the show, Hugo Boss fixer Matteo Berrettini and history-maker Anas Jabeur, are now arguably better known, having reached the Grand Slam finals last year.

The series begins with the biggest star in its slate, Kyrgios, an Australian who used to grab headlines all over the world, and not always because of forget quality.

Described on the show as the most talented player of his generation, the 27-year-old has yet to win a singles major, despite reaching the Wimbledon final last year.

He may epitomize the sport’s so-called next generation, talented, yes, but he hasn’t quite broken through and is in danger of being taken over by the next wave of up and coming players.

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

The first episode opens a window into how Kyrgios struggled with the fame and expectations that piled on him after his thrilling victory over Nadal at Wimbledon when he was just 19 years old.

The Aussie talks about loneliness in sport – how competing week in and week out, going from hotel to hotel isn’t for him – and about a drinking problem he had when he was younger.

“I just had to be kinder to myself, for the sake of my mental health. I could never be a player who plays all year. I couldn’t do that,” he says.

He drank every night, he says, from his younger days as a professional, as his life was “spinning out of control,” while his manager, Daniel Horsvall, says he’ll use the tracking app on his phone to look for Kyrgios after his nights out.

“I used to have your location on my phone, and sometimes I’d actually go to find where you were, what hotel you were in, what house you were staying in before the tournaments, before the game,” says Horsvall. “That was hard.”

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

Here’s a show that profiles the sport’s young elite, most of whom have struggled mentally at certain points in their lives.

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

Peedusa, the Spanish, formerly world number two, is incredibly honest as she talks about the impact of sport on her mental health, and how the pressure to succeed, win and move up the rankings has become too much for her.

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

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

Greek player Sakkari talks about not being able to sleep for three days after losing the French Open semi-final from match point to Barbora Kryczkova – “I told my coach I wanted to retire from tennis”.

Skari’s mother, a former tennis player, sums the sport up succinctly: “Tennis players don’t just lose to their opponents, they lose to themselves.”

It’s only a short segment, but an impactful one as Jaber’s husband, who’s also a fitness instructor for financial reasons — after his breakout season in 2022, it’s safe to assume those financial concerns no longer exist — asks his wife about having kids.

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

The Tunisian, who went on to become the first Arab woman to reach the final of the Grand Slams last season, looks miserable as she talks about her desire to have children one day, but is currently focusing on her career. The couple then embrace in a long embrace.

The series emphasizes what the sport of singles tennis is. Scary says goodbye to her team and goes to her match. No matter the size of the player’s retinue, they are alone on the field, fighting their opponent and their ideas.

Travel also seems relentless for those who compete week in and week out. One cycle ends, and another cycle is scheduled to begin.

Partly because of that, and partly because of the focus and dedication required to win tournaments, players don’t seem to get to experience much from the world they endlessly travel through.

During the Australian Open, cameras show Brittini and his then-girlfriend, Agla Tomljanovic, also a professional tennis player, having dinner in their hotel room, watching movies on their beds via a laptop.

Melbourne is outside, one of the best cities in the world, and yet their world is confined; From training grounds, gym, hotel room.

Does watching “Breaking Point” make you envious of tennis players? Not right. Does it make you want to be part of their world? Not right. Does it make you wonder how this lifestyle affects a person’s well-being? Definitely.

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