Australian Open hit by ‘Netflix curse’ as Break Point stars crumble
The Australian Open has been hit with some shock results this year, with both the top two seeds being knocked out of the men’s and women’s draws before the quarter-finals. This is the first time that this has happened in any Grand Slam in the open era.
The first five episodes of the Netflix docuseries ‘Break Point’ were dropped the week before the tournament began, and the ten stars of the show have fallen one by one in a disastrous first major of the year.
Expectations were high with this group, with only two players being unseeded, and four Grand Slam runners-up from the last two years in the lineup.
Three of them didn’t even make it to the court, with Aussie’s Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic both pulling out with knee injuries, and Spaniard Paula Badosa withdrew because of an abductor injury that she sustained in Adelaide.
No.13 seed Matteo Berrettini was next to follow after a five-set loss to Andy Murray, despite clawing the lead back from two sets down. The Italian even had a match point, but failed to convert after a poorly executed backhand hit the net.
"This is a shot he's going to remember for the rest of his career!"
Mats Wilander reacts to Matteo Berrettini's missed match point against Andy Murray 😧 pic.twitter.com/Pxw4Z6KA5K
— Eurosport (@eurosport) January 17, 2023
Murray struck again against the Netflix crew, in a blockbuster match against Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is the best friend and doubles partner of Kyrgios, that almost lasted six hours. The Aussie was two sets and 5-2 up over the three-time Grand Slam champion, Murray, but could not finish the Brit off with the match finishing gone 4am.
That match summed up the fortunes of the ‘Break Point’ cast in the second round with three more falling to upset defeats. In the women’s draw No.2 Ons Jabeur suffered a three-set loss to 2019 Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova, with the Tunisian hampered with a back injury.
Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz followed in the men’s draw, with two of the tournament’s favourites losing out to Jenson Brooksby and Alexei Popyrin, respectively.
To clarify: this is purely a coincidence… 🙄 https://t.co/5bTgimuH94
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) January 19, 2023
Maria Sakkari was the last woman standing, but her hopes were short-lived after falling to a shock third round defeat to No.87 Lin Zhu, 7-6 1-6 6-4.
With Felix Auger-Aliassime the only player remaining, all eyes were on him and the Canadian actually poked fun at the curse before his fourth round match, “I thought it was funny. Maybe the players that lost … feel like it’s connected somehow. I don’t think they do. But, yeah, so funny how things work out sometimes.”
However, he may not have seen the funny side in the situation after losing to Jiri Lehecka, who had not won a Grand Slam main draw match until he arrived at the Australian Open this year.
The stars of the next five episodes, which are set to be released in June of this year, will hope that they can overcome this ‘curse’ and No.4 Caroline Garcia has admitted that she has been approached by Netflix for a follow-up series, but has not confirmed whether she will take part, “My agent had an appointment with Netflix. They asked to see us. You have to weigh the pros and cons. It’s quite intrusive so if you’re not comfortable, there’s no point in do it. My team watched the episodes, I’m waiting for Australia to watch. It’s not easy to judge.”
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