Netflix documentary useful tool in promoting tennis featured players say
World No. 3 Kasper Ruud would have liked to see Netflix’s Tennis docu-series Break Point look more at the competition on the court, but Maria Sakkari was delighted to have opened the show.
“I hope next season we have a little more active courts and not so many other things,” said Ruud, whose run to the 2022 French Open final was featured in one of the episodes.
Ruud said he made a conscious decision not to reveal too much of his personal life to the cameras.
But he said the show did capture the ups and downs of the players, including a provocative moment at the French Open when the stadium team, fearful of rain, prevented him from warming up ahead of the semi-finals.
“I was very angry,” he said. “They said it was supposed to rain, but when we arrived at the court it didn’t rain. It was a kind of hitch and an argument that went on.
“I don’t know if it was good or not, but Netflix caught it all. I got more and more frustrated because they just refused to let us play even though it wasn’t raining.
“I almost forgot it happened because it was an important week for me, a big tournament. I got to my first Grand Slam final and I didn’t think about that little hiccup, you know, when the show was going to come out.
“But it was a little funny also to see what can sometimes happen to us. It’s not always smooth sailing.”
He would have liked to see more of the tension he felt in front of the two Scandinavian opponents, including his two-set-for-one comeback in the third round against a Finnish opponent.
Sakkari of Greece, whose run to the 2022 WTA Finals in Indian Wells was featured in one episode, spoke about the difficulties of the psychological side of the game and said she felt it was right to open up.
“I just felt like if I did it, I want to do it right,” Sakkari said. “I don’t want to hide anything. I don’t want to pretend.”
She said that the producers “have some kind of charisma or a way of just making you feel, in a good way, that we’re friends, so you have a friendly conversation.
“Then once you get to know them a little more, you open up and feel comfortable just talking about your emotions and how you feel on tour.
“I just didn’t feel like I had any reason to hide and not be transparent and honest about what I felt last year because it was very difficult.
“I’m really happy that a lot of people really enjoyed it and I’m getting very good feedback.”
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Sakkari and Ruud both said that being on the show, which was confirmed for another season, boosted their popularity.
Ruud recalled a woman from a Florida grocery store where he trained last month who told him that she and her husband had seen him the night before on the show.
“I didn’t become a global superstar overnight or anything like that, but I think a few more people in the world have watched the show.
“It’s good for us if more people get to know and are interested in tennis.”
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime said he thought the impact was more visible in the United States.
“While going out to dinner or to the grocery store, a lot more people recognize me and other players,” he said. “They say, ‘I just watched your episode and I love it.’