What is the 'Netflix curse'? Australian Open 'jinxed' by docuseries on tennis stars

What is the 'Netflix curse'? Australian Open 'jinxed' by docuseries on tennis stars
Maria Sakkari, Thanasi Kokkinakkis and Casper Ruud have all failed to impress at the Australian Open (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images, Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images, Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: On January 16, seven tennis stars who were recently seen in the Netflix documentary series 'Break Point' stepped on the court at the Australian Open, with their fans eagerly awaiting their triumph. However, their dreams fell short as they exited the tournament one after the other, leaving fans heartbroken. On Sunday, January 22, Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime's defeat to Jiri Lehecka concluded the sixth seed's journey in Melbourne, and with it brought validation to the 'Netflix curse'.

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Auger-Aliassime was among 10 tennis stars featured in the Netflix docu-series that was released three days before this year's first Grand Slam. Nick Kyrgios, Ajla Tomljanovic, and Paula Badosa could not participate in the tournament due to injuries. The other six - Maria Sakkari, Taylor Fritz, Casper Ruud, Matteo Berrettini, Ons Jabeur, and Thanasi Kokkinakis - did not even make it to the second week of the tournament. 'Break Point' is now cited as the reason behind the early exits of the featured players, most of whom were favorites. As a result, the 'Netflix curse' is now a popular topic of discussion on social media.

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What is the Netflix curse?

While it is unknown where and when the 'Netflix Curse' first emerged, the term gained traction soon after the streamer premiered the first episode of its documentary series, 'Break Point', featuring Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis. World No 21 Kyrgios sustained a right knee injury just before the Australian Open and was unable to participate in the tournament. Kokkinakis, on the other hand, had an unfortunate exit after losing to Andy Murray in the second round in a grueling almost-6-hour match. 

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Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia reacts in their round two singles match against Andy Murray of Great Britain during day four of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.
Thanasi Kokkinakis reacts in their round two singles match against Andy Murray on January 19, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia (Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Episode two of the Netflix series featured Matteo Berrettini and Ajla Tomljanović. Like Kyrgios, Tomljanović too had to miss out on the Australian Open due to a knee injury and will have to sit a few months out due to surgery. Berrettini, who was eying his first Grand Slam title, lost to Murray in the first round in one of the most thrilling matches of the tournament. The match saw a tremendous 15-shot rally off of Murray's serve. The British player finally won the point with a stunner. 

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Taylor Fritz and Maria Sakkari, who were featured in the third episode, lost to Alexei Popyrin and Zhu Lin respectively. While Fritz took his exit in the second round, Sakkari, who defeated Diana Shnaider in the second round, lost to China's Zhu Lin in three sets in the third. 

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Maria Sakkari of Greece plays a backhand during her third round singles match against Lin Zhu of China during day five of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.
Maria Sakkari plays a backhand during her third round singles match against Lin Zhu on January 20. She lost the match in 3 sets (Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images)

Episode 4 of 'Break Point' featured Spaniard Paula Badosa, who had to withdraw from the tournament due to a thigh injury, and World No 2 Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian tennis star lost in the second round to 86th-ranked Marketa Vondrousova 1-6, 7-5, 1-6. 

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Ons Jabeur of Tunisia reacts in their round two singles match against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic day four of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.
Ons Jabeur reacts in their round two singles match against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic on January 19 (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The final episode starred sixth-seeded Auger-Aliassime, who was the last victim of the Netflix Curse. The 22-year-old lost in the fourth round in four sets to unranked Jiri Lehecka. World No 2 Casper Ruud, who was also featured in the fifth 'Break Point' episode, exited the tournament after his second-round loss to American Jenson Brooksby.

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Casper Ruud of Norway reacts in their round two singles match against Jenson Brooksby of the United States during day four of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.
Casper Ruud reacts in the round two singles match against Jenson Brooksby on January 19 (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

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