The 2019 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals produced tennis matches of the highest level set against a backdrop of incredibly personal stories and emotional struggles. While we may already know the result — Spain defeated Canada to capture their sixth title in the tennis world’s oldest and most significant team tournament — Break Point: A Davis Cup Story, the new original documentary presented by Rakuten TV, offers audiences a unique glimpse at the drama that unfolded behind the scenes.
Starting today, Rakuten TV is now offering the film for free on its platform across Europe. Eager to get a sense of what awaits? Here is what you can expect (warning: spoilers ahead!).
A moment of doubt
The opening scene of Break Point is emblematic of its title — a figurative and literal point of doubt that could not only break the match open, but could also break Spain’s celebrated leader, Rafael Nadal. Struggling to maintain his form after a grueling week of matches, a sweat-drenched Nadal dips deep into his energy reserves, tosses the ball skyward, and throws himself back into the match. Even before the opening credits, Break Point sets a suspenseful tone, putting the audience at the edge of their seats.
The Davis Cup: A history of top-tier tennis
Interspersed with their memories of the tournament, the film then introduces us to some of the sport’s modern day stars, including representatives of Spain and Canada’s 2019 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals teams. Spain’s Roberto Bautista shares how his experiences at the Junior Davis Cup motivated him to one day represent Spain at the senior level. Doubles star Feliciano Lopez reveals his unique start at the tournament: “My first real memory of it is as a ball boy in a qualifier between Spain and Italy in Madrid.” Canada’s captain Frank Dancevic lays out the stakes, commenting, “This is the biggest stage for tennis; to be able to compete for your country, not as an individual, but for something bigger.”
Tennis is generally thought of as an individual sport, so when a tournament like the Davis Cup comes along, in which national teams face off against one another, it offers audiences an additional layer of excitement. But for casual sports fans, the tournament’s rules, history and significance require a primer. Break Point effectively educates viewers and draws them in with a poignant montage of defining moments and players from its 120-year long history.
Tragedy and triumph
After establishing the main cast of characters, Break Point takes us somewhere unexpected as it delves into the sub-story of Roberto Bautista, who played through immense personal tragedy, even having to leave his teammates at one point during the competition. Without revealing too much, Roberto’s strength in the face of unimaginable adversity acts as a galvanizing force for the Spanish team and becomes the emotional heart of the entire film.
Plenty of action
The final sees the return of Roberto Bautista to a depleted Spain squad that is running on fumes, having exhausted themselves in the semi-finals the day before. Bautista’s near-perfect performance in defeating Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime not only earned Spain its first point of the final, but also the respect and admiration of his rivals. Comments Canada’s Dancevic, “I had that feeling that he wanted to play for something bigger than tennis — it would have been difficult for anyone to beat him that day.”
In the final match of the tournament, Nadal takes on Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, and this is where the filmmakers bring us full-circle to Break Point’s opening scene. We relive Nadal’s moment of doubt, and despite already knowing the outcome of the match; despite knowing we are watching 20-time major winner Rafael Nadal, we somehow believe that he might somehow lose.
Break Point is an emotional rollercoaster that is sure to satisfy even non-sports fans and is a worthy addition to the Rakuten Stories series, Rakuten TV’s catalog of original documentaries that already includes Andrés Iniesta – The Unexpected Hero, Made in Senegal about Sadio Mané, and Matchday: Inside FC Barcelona. Released exclusively on Rakuten TV in 43 countries and regions across Europe, subscribers can stream Break Point: A Davis Cup Story for free now.