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Netflix tennis stars say series shows ups and downs of pro game

INDIAN WELLS, Ca. — Rising tennis stars featured in the Netflix tennis docuseries Break Point said it has raised their profiles and boosted the game’s visibility even if it does not always show their best side.

The show, which is filming at Indian Wells again this year, focuses on a group of up-and-coming players including Casper Ruud, Felix Auger Aliassime, and Taylor Fritz and as they try to navigate the pressure-filled world of professional tennis.

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

“But it’s not crazy. I haven’t been an overnight worldwide superstar.”

One episode follows Mr. Ruud’s run to the final of last year’s French Open and depicts a heated exchange between the Norwegian and the grounds crew after he was not allowed to practice due to forecasted rain.

“I was quite angry honestly because the court crew wouldn’t let us warm up before the match,” Mr. Ruud said.

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

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

Canada’s Auger Aliassime feels the impact of the show most acutely in the US, where Netflix has its biggest market.

“Going to dinner or a grocery store, a lot more people are recognizing me and other players,” he said.

“They say, ‘I just watched your episode and I loved it.’ Nice interactions with people who maybe were not tennis fans before.”

Mr. Fritz’s episode documented his breakthrough victory in the Indian Wells final last year and while he was happy with how it turned out, he said it may have given the wrong impressions about the ankle injury he played through in the title match.

“I thought the episode was really great but there were a couple things that were missed,” the American said.

“I think the episode made it seem that my injury was in the warm-up before my match but it was at the end of my semi-final and I only realized how bad it felt the next day after.”

Mr. Ruud said he kept boundaries up between himself and the crew which limited his screen time.

“I didn’t invite Netflix to too many personal things,” he said. “Inviting them to my hotel room, or having my girlfriend Maria talk on camera, that’s not something she is so comfortable with. So there are many things that we said no to.

“But it’s been fun to be part of something Netflix has made together with (the Formula One) Drive to Survive and the golf series (Full Swing).

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

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