Netflix is continuing to dabble in sport documentaries with tennis the next target in its sights.
In January 2022, the streaming service confirmed filming was about to begin at the Australian Open after securing agreements with the four Grand Slam tournaments, the ATP Tour, WTA Tour, and ATP Media.
Netflix are expected to have a presence at every Grand Slam tournament in 2022 and have promised to provide equal coverage to men’s and women’s players.
The Sporting News will be keeping track of all the important details relating to the new show.
When will Netflix release its tennis documentary series?
No release date has been confirmed as yet with filming still underway, but expect to see at least some episodes prior to the 2023 Australian Open.
ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi suspects Netflix will be strategic about when it does air the show as it looks to build interest in tennis.
“There is no exact timetable for the release yet,” Gaudenzi told Germany’s Tennis Magazin in July.
“I’m guessing it will go live towards the end of the year or before the Australian Open 2023 to whet the appetite for the new season.”
Netflix have notably released its other sport documentary series ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ a week or two prior to the start of the new F1 season.
What will the tennis documentary series be called?
Netflix are yet to confirm a name for their new tennis series, with even the ATP in the dark about what it could be called at this stage.
“There isn’t a name yet or they haven’t told us about it yet,” Gaudenzi said.
A title for the show will likely be revealed when Netflix decides to drop its first trailer for the show.
Which players will feature on Netflix’s tennis documentary series?
Australian Nick Kyrgios is one player expected to feature prominently in the series.
The Daily Mail reported in July that Kyrgios signed a “lucrative deal” with Netflix that gave producers of the show exclusive access during his memorable run to the 2022 Wimbledon final.
Italian star Matteo Berrettini also confirmed he was being filmed at the Australian Open when he reached the semi-finals.
“I think people are going to see how much I struggle with my body…or that my room is really messy,” Berrettini said in January.
“I think it’s really cool to see it because people think we just step in but there is like a world behind the scenes so hopefully you guys are gonna like it.”
Other names likely to star in the series include Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina.
One player that may not feature prominently is Daniil Medvedev, who reportedly wasn’t allowing Netflix direct access in May.
Medvedev says he didn’t allow the Netflix crew to follow him, so they will just get from him the original footage from ATP/Grand Slams.
Daniil says the situation can change in the future.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 28, 2022
What does it have in common with Formula 1’s Drive to Survive?
Tennis is hoping to replicate Formula 1’s Drive to Survive series which has given the sport a massive boost in popularity since its first season in 2019.
Netflix’s tennis documentary series will be produced by Box to Box Films – the same company behind Drive to Survive – and look to provide similar access.
“We want to get more fans excited about tennis. We show many behind-the-scenes of the Tour, a different face of the players, who they are, what they do and what it means to be a year-round tennis pro,” Gaudenzi said.
“I’ve never been a big fan of Formula 1, but watching the Netflix documentary Drive to Survive gave me a different perspective. It created a spark in me that I need to watch the next race to understand the personalities.
“We are in the entertainment business and we want to tell stories. Live matches cannot be the only product we offer.
“Today, 50 per cent of media consumption is not live events. Especially through social media, viewers want to be part of other stories.”