Review: “Break Point” depicts the competitive lives and emotions that the most successful tennis players experience

With “Break Point,” Netflix brings tennis to the next level of success


The new Netflix documentary series, “Break Point,” released on Jan. 13, depicts both the competitive and human sides of tennis. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

“Break Point,” directed by James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin, was released on Jan. 13, and is streaming on Netflix. The docu-series gives spectators a chance to find out what makes tennis exciting, and feel part of the experience feeling all the different stages of emotions, that the show highlights through the challenging life of an athlete. 

It is a result of a partnership between Netflix, the Women’s Tennis Association, and the Association of Tennis Professionals, and reveals the competitive life, relationships and emotions that the most successful tennis players experience.

While watching “Break Point,” the audience follows some of the most brilliant players through a thrilling tennis season, traveling around the world as they aspire for success and Grand Slams titles, which are four major tournaments in the season.

It skillfully recaps the previous tennis season and successfully manages to give us a very good understanding of what goes through a tennis player’s head during a match.

The first part consists of five episodes. Each episode has two or three protagonists from the ATP and WTA tours, and they switch between different tournaments and environments.

Every episode has most likely the same structure that ends at the end of the tournament. The athletes that are the main protagonist in these five episodes are Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first episode, Matteo Berrettini and Ajla Tomljanovic in the second episode, Maria Sakkari and Taylor Fritz in the third episode, Paula Badosa and Ons Jabeur in the fourth episode, and in the fifth episode, Casper Ruud and Felix Auger-Aliassime. 

The first part of the show also features outstanding former players who are given a chance to express their opinion with straightforward insight on the topic, such as Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick and John McEnroe.

Even though every episode can be considered a unique story, they are all connected by the struggles and happiness that the player feels during his/her tennis career.

Through these stories, different aspects of these athletes’ lives are shown. They represent not just what they feel and do on the tennis court, but also their normal life, between family, love and dealing with the pressure of what other people expect them to do. 

Family members are introduced in the protagonists’ daily lives. For example, in the second episode, Berrettini visits his grandparents in Rome, and while having lunch, they talk about what happened that day. The directors even show Berrettini and Tomijanovic watching a movie after a long day on the tennis court between tension and tennis balls. 

The mental side of this sport and being able to deal with pressure also appear, like in the third episode where the audience can see the struggle that Sakkari was having, thinking that it would be another semifinal that she will lose after losing few in the previous tournaments. 

Also, the mental struggle that is playing at home and having to meet public expectations means for them, like Fritz and Badosa’s experiences. 

Important topics that do not only concern tennis players are also touched upon, such as in the fourth episode that reveals the difficulty women athletes have in getting the same recognition that men have in sports, even at the level of advertisement offers and television space. 

The style of the show is dynamic. The footage showing the quality and explosiveness of some great points during tournaments are greatly mixed with footage going into the detail and calm parts of their daily life.  

The attention of the director to their looks, helps the audience to understand and find in their eyes all the different emotions that are going through the players’ minds.

Watching “Break Point,” the audience can learn more about tennis as a sport, which is the main topic of the documentary. It also focuses on the human factor and connection that the tennis players build during the season.

“Break Point,” is not over, to watch the second part viewers will have to wait until June 2023. 

This part will focus on different players and show other tournaments and Grand Slams, like Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.