After spending last year following a select group of players and being handed unprecedented access behind the scenes at major tournaments, the hope is that Break Point will take tennis to a whole new audience.
After the Netflix show F1: Drive to Survive peeled back the stories behind the headlines in Formula 1, Break Point has been hailed as the tennis version that could build the global brands of the game’s biggest stars.
So does it hit the mark?
Player in focus – Nick Kyrgios
Kyrgios was an obvious candidate to lead the first episode of Break Point.
A compelling character who divides opinions with his contentious antics on and off the court, the Aussie maverick has claimed on social media that he is the star of this Netflix production.
He dominates the first episode of Break Point, as he reflects on his life as a young boy, with contributions from both of his parents.
The bond he has with his backroom team is explored and the episode ends on a high as he win the Australian Open doubles title with his great friend Thanasi Kokkinakis.
We get to see the start of Kyrgios’ relationship with girlfriend Costeen Hatzi, but it feels like there could have been more extracted from this fascinating sporting star.
Players in focus: Matteo Berrettini, Ajla Tomljanovic
Tennis players spend a lot of their time in hotel rooms and we get to see that in living colour as we are taken inside the romance between top male player Berrettini and WTA star Tomljanovic.
Their messy hotel room is littered with boxes of tennis shoes and takeaway meals, as we get a chance to see how two players eager to challenge at the top of the game support each other during their high and low moments.
Again, it feels like we could get more from this episode as a lot of time is spent focusing on the action on court, with Break Point a show that needs to be be more focused on the personalities behind the rackets.
Players in focus: Maria Sakkari, Taylor Fritz
The best of the first three episodes includes Maria Sakkari reflecting on her brief ‘retirement’ from tennis and some compelling scenes of Fritz’s dispute with his coaching team in the hours before last year’s Indian Wells final against Rafael Nadal.
Sakkari has helped to propel tennis to the front pages of Greek newspapers and she comes across as a charming character as we get to meet her sister and backroom team as she battles through to the final of the Indian Wells event.
Dealing with defeat is challenging for all player and Sakkari reveals she ‘retired’ from the game after disappointments, only to realise she had so much more to offer and quickly returned to the practice courts.
Fritz and his girlfriend Morgan Riddle are given plenty of air time in this episode, with an injury to the American on the morning of his Indian Wells final leading to dramatic scenes that show his team urging him to withdraw from the match.
He decides to play with pain-killing injections in his ankle and pulls off a remarkable win against Nadal, who was also injured during that final.
The initial response to Break Point from tennis writers has been negative, but their verdict is clouded by resentment that they didn’t get the kind of access the Netflix film crew was given to the game’s top stars.
We could have expected a little more insight into the backstories of players in the opening three episodes, but this is a show that will promote tennis to a new audience and will also entertain fans of the sport.
There is more to come with a second batch of this series dropping in June, but these first five episodes offer enough to suggest this could be a long-running series for Netflix.