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REVIEW: Swinging through Netflix’s Break Point series

Season+2+of+Netflixs+Break+Point+was+released+this+January.+
Dia Cohen
Season 2 of Netflix’s Break Point was released this January.

Stepping into the lives of professional tennis players on and off the court, the new Netflix series Break Point gives viewers a glimpse of the routines and lifestyles of the members of the Association of Professional Tennis Players (ATP) and Women Tennis Association (WTA).

With the recent release of Season 2 this January, Break Point explores the cultivation, complexity and competitiveness in the world of tennis. It also highlights the accomplishments, past wins, the early success, and even the funny moments players experience on and off the court. Former professional tennis players, like Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick and John McEnroe offer their own thoughtful and reflective commentary, while coaches of players, like Patrick Mouratoglou offer play-by-play breakdowns and their own commentary. Break Point isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though; while the sports documentary does highlight player achievements, it also shines a light on the mental health battles, injuries and other challenges that tennis poses. 

Tennis is a whirlwind of emotions for any and everybody who plays. Break Point is no exception. Viewers witness players struggle to talk through about their trials and tribulations. Viewers witness players ecstatic at the fact that they just won a Grand Slam. Viewers witness some players breaking down. Viewers witness some players’ rage. Viewers witness players messing around/joking with their coaches. Viewers see everything.  

For those who don’t know, break is a term in tennis that means a player is on the verge of winning the point on their opponent’s serve. A break point allows for a player to surpass their opponent in terms of the number of games they are winning. If this happens, the player is also to get one step closer to winning the set or match, instead of being tied at the same amount of games. 

First released in January of 2023 in two parts, Season 1 covered the 2022 tennis season, including the four Grand Slams, which are the biggest and most thrilling tennis tournaments of the year: Australian Open, French Open/Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open. There are a lot of other, more minor tournaments throughout every tennis season. For example, some, like the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) are covered in the series. Though the Grand Slams are the tournaments a player wants to win, the smaller, yet still popular and essential tournaments are some players’ key to having a great tennis season. 

Primarily focusing on only one to three players an episode, Break Point follows some of the biggest names in tennis. The first episode of the series focuses on Australian player Nick Krygios. Though sometimes known as the “bad boy” of tennis, Krygios’ fun game style and unique shots make him a crowd thriller. Krygios and his doubles partner, Australian player Thannasi Kokinakis, also made a run of their own, thrilling the crowds on their home court during the first Grand Slam of the year. As the episode explains, life hasn’t always been easy for him, but as viewers find out, things take a turn for the better for Krygios during the earlier part of the season. 

The next episode primarily focuses on Italian player Matteo Berrettini and Australian player Ajla Tomljanović. The show not only follows them during their run at the Australian Open, it also follows them as a couple. After that, episode three focuses on American player Taylor Fritz and Greek player Maria Sakkari. In this episode, viewers get a glimpse into the players’ time during the BNP Paribas Open. Both players open up about their mental health and the mental struggles they have to have on the court while facing the pressure of winning. 

Similarly, Spanish player Paula Badosa and Tunisia player Ons Jabeur deal with the pressure in episode four, too. Badosa deals with the pressure of winning the Madrid Open as a hometown favorite, and Jabeur with the aspect of becoming the first Tunisian woman to break expectations in her home country and the world. In episode five, viewers get to witness Canadian player Felix Auger-Aliassime and Norwegian player Casper Ruud battle it out during the French Open tournament, hoping to make a good run to the finals, while also being mindful of the “King of the Clay,” Rafael Nadal. Though at a young age, both are ready to be crowned champion. 

Following the releases of the first five episodes, Netflix did not release the other episodes until June of 2023. While still following many of the same players in the first five, the next five episodes include the introduction of some other players as the tennis season progresses. Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas is introduced in episode six, as a challenger to Nick Krygios during Wimbledon in the same episode. Kazakhstani player Elena Rybakina is introduced as the challenger to Ons Jabeur during the same tournament in episode seven, as well. As Serena Williams announces her retirement from tennis, declaring the 2022 US Open to be her last tournament, Ajila Tomljanović faces one of her biggest matches yet in episode eight. Then, American player Frances Tiafoe and Polish player Iga Świątek are introduced in episode nine during the US Open as some of the top seeds to beat in the tournament. 

Season 1 of Break Point concludes at the WTA and ATP finals. Viewers get a chance to witness a deeper dive into Taylor Fritz’s hopes to end his tennis season with a bang, and a look into the struggles of Belarussian player Aryna Sabalenka. Sabalenka had a tough year on and off the court, with a struggling second serve and her home country’s decision to support Russia during the war with Ukraine. Either way, Sabalenka came back from her drought and later said that the 2023 season would be her best. 

Even before the release of the second part of Season 1, Break Point was renewed by Netflix for a second season. Recently released in early January, Season 2 of Break Point again highlights and follows some of the players who previously participated, while also bringing in some new blood.

There was, however, a so-called “Netflix curse” associated with the players who participated in Season 1 of the series. During the first few rounds of the 2023 Australian Open, the majority of the players lost, sparking speculation and rumor about how their participation in the sports documentary series may have altered some things. However, there are a few expectations for the “curse” as viewers will later find out. 

The first episode of Season 2 starts at the beginning of the 2023 tennis season, opening with Aryna Sabalenka, who hopes to make a great comeback compared to the 2022 tennis season. Also featured is Nick Kyrgios again hoping to seek redemption. Following episode one, we are introduced to two up-and-coming younger players: Danish player Holger Rune and Hispanic player Carlos Alcaraz. Both in their young twenties, the episode highlights the advantages and disadvantages of being at the ages they are. Then, in episode three, American players Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe are introduced again, with the addition of Tommy Paul. All three men are among the top American tennis players either vying for that number one spot, trying to maintain that spot or catching up to that spot during the BNP Paribas Open. 

As the 2023 tennis season progressed, cameras caught up with German player Alexander Zverev, who, in 2022, had a terrible foot/ankle injury during the French Open. Zverev is hoping to make a comeback at the same tournament but is first testing it out at the Monte-Carlo Masters tournaments. He also discusses his rivalry and ultra competitiveness with Russian player, Daniil Medvedev. Then, in episode five, Maria Sakkari is also reintroduced along with American player Jessica Pegula. Both are among the top ten women players in the world but are somewhat stuck in their rankings, trying to get out and climb higher during Wimbledon. Finally in episode six, we reach the 2023 US Open, with the pressure intensifying for all players, especially Coco Gauff and Frances Tiafoe who made big runs of their own during the 2022 US Open. 

Finding a new sport to play is exciting, but finding a new sport to watch and even learn about is exhilarating. Break Point is no exception. With play-by-play analysis, personal experience and a look into everything these players do for their tennis careers, Break Point is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, almost like watching an intense tennis match. Only this time, all the players are winners in terms of how viewers get to see them grow and achieve. 

About the Contributors
Katie Dikes, Staffer
Katie Dikes is a staffer on Manual RedEye. She loves to write about all things sports, as well as covering Manual athletic events. In her spare time, she loves to listen to 80's music, watch any and everything sports-related, bake, binge Netflix, and read cheesy romance novels. You can contact her at [email protected].
Dia Cohen, Photo and Design Editor
Dia Cohen is the Photo and Design Editor for Manual RedEye this year. She loves to read, play piano, draw and stargaze. She is passionate about covering criminal justice issues. In short, she's a real renaissance woman. You can contact her at [email protected].
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