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Which tennis players broke the Netflix Curse on 'Break Point' Season 2?
Aryna Sabalenka parlayed her momentum from the end of Season 1 into becoming a Grand Slam champion and world No. 1, while Maria Sakkari captured the biggest title of her career.
Published Jan 10, 2024
In the aptly titled Season 2 debut “The Curse,” Break Point leaned hard into the so-called “Netflix curse” that haunted much of Break Point’s Season 1 cast during the 2023 Australian Open, but was the Netflix Curse real?
It certainly hit home for Aussies Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic, both of whom were forced to miss large swaths of last season after each enjoyed standout results in 2022.
Kyrgios ended up playing just one match last season, dealing with knee and wrist injuries that largely kept him a commentator booth’s length from the tennis court, while Tomljanovic didn’t return to action in earnest until the summer, where she pulled off an impressive first-round comeback at the US Open.
“I think it’s just the fans,” Tomljanovic said of the Netflix Curse last year. “I tweeted something when that started popping up and I was annoyed, but then I realized it was more of a light-hearted thing, and just a joke.
“Look, Frances Tiafoe just made Top 10 and there’s great stories as well. They also don’t even know about players who may have filmed that didn’t make the episodes.”
Indeed, while the first half of Break Point fed into the Netflix Curse narrative, the season “1A” cast enjoyed much more success, including Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka.
“What fucking Netflix curse?” jokes Sabalenka at the end of Season 2’s premiere.
Sabalenka carried the momentum seen in Break Point’s Season 1 finale into an undefeated start to 2023, winning a warm-up event in Adelaide before storming to her first major title, knocking out rival Elena Rybakina in three titanic sets.
Then 24 years, Sabalenka dedicated the win to her late father, who passed away in 2019, and opens up about the pressures she put on herself to live up to the goals they had set together.
“When I told [my mom] I wanted to win a Slam for him, for his memory, I wanted to put our family name in history, she said, ‘What are you talking about? He was proud of you after each match you win. Every match for him mattered and titles weren’t a big deal.’
“He would say, ‘You just have to trust yourself. You know how to play this game. You just have to go for it.’”
That renewed perspective took Sabalenka through the most consistent year of her career, one that culminated with a rise to No. 1 in the WTA rankings after the US Open.
Sabalenka wasn’t the only player to defy the “Netflix Curse.” To Tomljanovic’s point, Tiafoe enjoyed another solid season on tour, earning a Top 10 debut after winning two ATP titles and reaching his first Masters 1000 semifinal at the BNP Paribas Open.
Maria Sakkari, who also returned for Break Point’s second season, also shook off the curse—albeit at the 11th hour—winning the biggest title of her career at the WTA 1000 tournament in Guadalajara.
Perhaps the most successful at breaking the curse was Carlos Alcaraz, who won the best Grand Slam match of the season to defeat Novak Djokovic and capture his second major victory at Wimbledon, having already clinched the No. 1 ranking for the first time back in the spring.
Will the Season 2 cast endure a similar curse in Australia? So far, so good: Sabalenka and Holger Rune both reached finals in their first events of the year, while Coco Gauff defended her Auckland title at the ASB Classic.
Binge the rest of Break Point on Netflix to keep tabs on the new cast and how they fare in 2024.