Netflix stars say series show pro-game ups and downs

INDIAN WELLS, approx. March 8 (Reuters) – Emerging tennis stars from the Netflix tennis docuseries “Break Point” said it has raised their profile and increased the visibility of the game, even if it doesn’t always show their best side .

The show, which will be taped again this year in Indian Wells, focuses on a group of up-and-coming players, including Casper Ruud, Felix Auger Aliassime and Taylor Fritz, as they try to navigate the pressured world of professional tennis.

“A lady came up to me at Publix in Florida and said, ‘Me and my husband were watching you on the Netflix show last night,'” Ruud told reporters Wednesday, the first day of the main event in Indian Wells.

“But it’s not crazy. I didn’t become a global superstar overnight.”

An episode follows Ruud’s run to last year’s French Open final and shows a heated argument between the Norwegian and the grounds staff after he was banned from practicing due to predicted rain.

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“To be honest, I was pretty angry because the court team didn’t want to let us warm up before the game,” said Ruud.

“I don’t know if it was good or not, but Netflix was there to catch it all. It was something I almost forgot had happened,” he said.

“But it was also kind of funny, looking back at what can sometimes happen for us. It’s not always a smooth ride.”

Canada’s Auger Aliassime is feeling the show’s impact most acutely in the US, where Netflix has its largest market.

“When I go out to eat or go to the supermarket, a lot more people recognize me and other players,” he said.

“They’re like, ‘I just watched your episode and I loved it.’ Fun interactions with people who may not have been tennis fans before.”

Fritz’s episode documented his breakthrough in last year’s Indian Wells final and while he was happy with the result, he said it may have misrepresented the ankle injury he suffered in the title match.

“I really loved the episode, but there were a few things that were missed,” said the American.

“I think the episode made it look like my injury was in the warm-up for my match, but it was at the end of my semi-final and I didn’t realize how bad it felt until the next day.”

Ruud said he kept the boundaries between himself and the crew, limiting his screen time.

“I didn’t invite Netflix to too much personal stuff,” he said.

“Inviting them to my hotel room, or letting my friend Maria talk on camera, that’s not something she’s very comfortable with. So there are a lot of things we’ve said no to.

“But it was nice to be part of something that Netflix has created together with (Formula 1) “Drive to Survive” and the golf series (“Full Swing”).

“It’s positive for us if more people are interested in tennis.”

Reporting by Rory Carroll, Editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

Rory Caroll

Thomson Reuters

Los Angeles sports reporter who interviews the world’s most influential athletes and executives. Covers the latest news ranging from the highs of championship wins to the lows of abuse scandals. My work highlights the ways in which sport and the issues of race, gender, culture, finance and technology intersect.

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