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Netflix greenlights a tennis docuseries from the 'Drive to Survive' team

It might feature the ongoing Novak Djokovic saga.
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park as questions remain over the legal battle regarding his visa to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, January 13, 2022.  REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake
Asanka Brendon Ratnayake / reuters
Kris Holt
Kris Holt|@krisholt|January 14, 2022 2:21 PM

Netflix is making a bigger push into sports docuseries following the success of Formula 1: Drive to Survive. We learned this week that a show covering the 2022 PGA Tour and men's major golf championships is on the way, and now the company has announced a similar show covering the world of top-level tennis is in the works.

All three shows are being produced or co-produced by the same company, Box to Box Films. Netflix says the as-yet-untitled tennis series will devote equal time to men and women. The names of the players involved haven't been revealed, according to Bloomberg, but given the high-profile names taking part in Drive to Survive and the golf show, expect the tennis series to feature prominent figures.

Netflix has locked in deals with both tennis governing bodies, the ATP and WTA, as well as the organizers of the four Grand Slam tournaments — the biggest events on the tennis calendar. Given that production has started at the Australian Open, the docuseries could start with some major drama.

On Friday, Australian officials once again revoked the visa of Novak Djokovic, the world's top-ranked men's player, this time "on health and good order grounds." Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19, said earlier this month that he was granted a medical exemption to travel to Australia and continue his quest for a record 21st men's Grand Slam singles title. However, questions were raised about the validity of his exemption, and he admitted to making an "error of judgment" by attending public events in December while awaiting the awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. He tested positive.

Drive to Survive helped to boost the popularity of Formula 1, especially among US viewers. Tennis execs will surely be hoping for a similar effect from the upcoming docuseries. Last year's US Open drew an average of 796,000 viewers, the second-lowest viewing figures since ESPN secured rights to the tournament in 2015.