The long-awaited Netflix tennis series, “Break Point,” Season 1, Part 2, drops Wednesday. You can relive last year’s season, beginning with Wimbledon and culminating with the US Open. Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka and Ajla Tomljanovic are prominently featured.

As it turns out, Wednesday marks another important date, the 50th anniversary of today’s Hologic WTA Tour. On June 21, 1973, it came into being at the Gloucester Hotel in London.

Ten things we learned from Netflix's 'Break Point': Swiatek's 'annoying' dominance and more

Which got us thinking: If Netflix can weave such a compelling, complex narrative from a single season, what if the storytellers at Box to Box Films had the entire WTA Tour archive at their disposal?

'Break Point:' Meet the stars

So, as a public service, we offer just a handful of the infinite possibilities of the past five decades.


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Lead storyline:  Rosie Casals and the Virginia Slims Circuit 

Billie Jean King is (rightfully) credited with creating the spark that became women’s professional tennis -- she has the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and Billie Jean King Cup to prove it.

But behind the scenes, Casals was the revolutionary force the Netflix producers would have loved. She was, of course, a formidable player, with a dozen Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles titles (many with King) and a hand in seven United States Fed Cup championship teams. But perhaps her greatest achievement was being a primary mover in forming the Virginia Slims Circuit, the precursor to the modern WTA.

Through the years: Celebrating the WTA's 50th anniversary

This period was marked by a rebellion against the tennis establishment, with the female players risking their careers for a chance at better pay and recognition. The drama, camaraderie and rivalries from this era were everything you see today in reality television.

Casals sat at the top table with King when she called the players -- nearly 60 of them -- to the meeting at the Gloucester Hotel in London. While King would become president of the new Women’s Tennis Association, Casals didn’t take on a key elected executive role (she became chair of the rankings committee) because her unofficial place as lieutenant to King was already so influential. Indeed, her nickname was “The General.”

Serving up a revolution: Billie Jean King and the dawn of the WTA

She played an important role in formulating ideas and strategy and lobbying players to get involved. Fun fact and a scene they’d have to recreate: Casals once took out a book and started reading it in a press conference when all the questions were directed at King.

Rosie Casals: 'People need to know the history of women's tennis'

Storyline No.2: Evonne Goolagong's journey

Goolagong, an Indigenous Australian, went from a small town in New South Wales to being one of the top tennis players in the world, winning Wimbledon twice. A series could explore her roots, the daunting barriers she overcame, and her efforts to support indigenous players in her retirement.

Her story began, improbably, with a truncated version of a cricket bat, hitting tennis balls against a wall. She left her home in rural New South Wales to train and live with a coach and his family in Sydney. She stunned the tennis world by winning Wimbledon in 1971 and again, as a mother, in 1980. Known for her grace and easygoing nature, but also for “going walkabout” during matches, she put together a formidable career, winning 68 titles in the Open Era and belatedly being identified as a World No.1.

Storyline No.3: Chris Evert and the birth of the Rivalry Era

Evert, known for her steely demeanor and grit on the court, easily could be the central character of a series examining the beginning of the WTA's intense rivalry era. Oh, and her brief romance with Jimmy Connors was probably something you’d see on “Vanderpump Rules.”

Evert won 18 major titles, including seven at Roland Garros and six at the US Open. She was the No.1-ranked player for 260 weeks and finished as the year-end No.1 seven times. But it was her rivalry with Martina Navratilova, perhaps the most pivotal in tennis history, that helped vault women’s tennis into the public consciousness. Navratilova, who also won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, took the head-to-head series 43-37.

Before Navratilova, Evert also had memorable rivalries with King, Goolagong and Virginia Wade.

'My rival, my friend': Evert revisits Navratilova's Wimbledon reign


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Lead storyline: Martina Navratilova returns to Prague

For years, Navratilova had struggled with the rigid oversight of Czechoslovakian communist officials, and in 1975 she did something about it. Still a teenager, after an aborted attempt at Wimbledon she defected following a loss to Evert in the US Open semifinals. It felt official when she woke up the next morning in the Roosevelt Hotel and heard the story had been broken by the Washington Post.

The Czech sports foundation was not amused. “Martina Navratilova has suffered a defeat in the face of the Czechoslovak society,” it said. “Navratilova had all the possibilities in Czechoslovakia to develop her talent, but she preferred a professional career and a fat bank account.”

Eleven years later, in 1986, amid all kinds of pageantry, international tension and the uplifting beauty of tennis, Navratilova finally returned home.

A few weeks earlier, she had defeated Czechoslovakia’s top player, Hana Mandlikova, in the Wimbledon final. With the United States Federation Cup team coming to Prague, joined by squads from 40 other countries, the host nation felt overwhelming pressure to grant her a visa. It was rare that an international event of such prestige was held behind the “Iron Curtain.”

Even though Czech officials did everything they could to minimize her matches, Navratilova was enormously popular with the crowds; conductors stopped the trains running by the stadium so passengers could hang out the windows and take in those historic moments.

It was a thrilling, landmark occasion for women’s tennis and sports overall.

Just last week, Navratilova was back in Prague as the guest of honor. She accepted the parliament’s silver medal, honoring the fabled tennis career that was born of that monumental decision to flee an oppressive regime. Milos Vystrcil, president of the Senate, presented the award.

“We lived in a cage, and you had the strength and courage to break that cage and fly out of it,” his statement read. “You have spoken openly about who you are and with whom you are, and in doing so you have helped a large number of people with a similar fate. You have helped and are helping the weak and vulnerable, those who have less than you.

“You are brave and never give up. In life, just like on the tennis court.”

Storyline No.2: The Graf-Seles Rivalry

While the rivalry between Steffi Graf and Monica Seles is well-known in tennis circles, the story behind their on-court battles and the contrasting personalities of these two great champions offers a rich narrative.

They played 15 times, with Graf winning 10. But their meetings in six Grand Slam finals -- from the 1990 French Open to the 1996 US Open -- were split right down the middle, at 3-all.

The rivalry took a dark turn in 1993 when a fan of Graf stabbed Seles on the court. Seles returned in 1995 and immediately went on to reach the final of the US Open, where Graf narrowly defeated her. A few months later, Seles would win the 1996 Australian Open.

Storyline No.3: Andrea Jaeger's short-lived career

Jaeger was a teenage prodigy who reached the No. 2 ranking at age 16. However, her career was cut short with injuries. She found her true vocation after retiring from the tour, using her winnings to found the Little Star Foundation in support of children suffering cancer and their families -- and even becoming a nun at one point.

Her life story offers a unique perspective on the pressures faced by young tennis prodigies -- and how to make a true difference in the world after a playing career.


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Lead storyline: The rise of the Williams Sisters

You may have seen the movie: “King Richard.” Trust us, there’s a lot of material that didn’t make the final edit.

The origin story, from the mean streets of Compton, California, to the summit of their profession is a classic -- except that Venus and Serena weren’t playing a traditional mainstream sport. They were African Americans in an arena that offered little diversity. Trained and inspired by their father Richard, few players looked like they did.

Venus turned professional in 1994 and Serena one year later. Venus, the older sister, would win seven Grand Slam singles titles and a total of five at Wimbledon, where her skill set played exceptionally well on grass. Serena finished with a staggering 23 major championships (the first coming at the 1999 US Open), the Open Era record she now shares with Novak Djokovic.

Following the 2002 French Open, Venus and Serena were the Nos.1- and No.2-ranked players on the WTA Tour, another of their unprecedented achievements. It happened again eight years later, with the sisters reversing places. Venus had already turned 30 and Serena was 28.

Their success was marked by prodigious quality and quantity. Serena was already pregnant when she won her final major, the 2017 Australian Open -- and Venus was on the other side of the net when it happened. Venus was 36 years old and Serena 35. The remarkable thing? For more than a decade, Venus struggled with the debilitating effects of an autoimmune disease that made it difficult to practice.

Her approach to that setback captured the philosophy the sisters have brought to life at large.

“There are definitely challenges, though, but it’s about how you face them and how you come out on top so you can live in a way that is acceptable to you,” Venus once said. “It has been wonderful to still do what I love.

“And even though I still have issues, it doesn’t mean they’re going to stop me.”

Serena Williams and a prophecy fulfilled

Storyline No.2: Jana Novotna's triumph and tears

Winning and losing are sometimes separated by a single heartbeat, the blink of an eye, a ball one millimeter out. Most often, we focus on the winner, eyes brimming, but there was one defeated athlete whose heartfelt tears might have best brought home that sting of defeat.

Novotna had lost all six of her previous matches against Gabriela Sabatini but upset her in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 1993. Martina Navratilova fell in the semifinals and Steffi Graf loomed in the final. With the match level at a set apiece, Novotna had a game point serving at 4-1 -- and ultimately lost. At the trophy presentation, she wept on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent, who comforted her.

Five years later, Novotna would win her only Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, and when she died after a struggle with cancer in 2017, those two poignant moments at the All England Club framed the wide range of human emotion.

WTA: ACEing Cancer

 Storyline No.3: Conchita Martínez’s lone Grand Slam

The Spanish player is best known for her victory at Wimbledon in 1994, where she was the first Spanish woman to win the title. Her story is one of determination and perseverance in an era of tennis dominated by a handful of powerful figures.

The enduring bond between Conchita Martinez and the Eternal City


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Lead storyline: Belgium rises to the top

Belgium, a nation of fewer than 12 million, is famous for its exports of motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products, uncut diamonds, textiles as well as food and livestock. At the turn of this century, for about a decade, those natural riches were joined (some would say eclipsed) by two tennis players.

Justin Henin was born in Liège on June 1, 1982. Thirty-eight kilometers to the north in Bilzen, Kim Clijsters came along one year and one week later. Together, they would forever alter the sporting landscape of that European nation.

Stylistically, they couldn’t have been more different. Henin, small in stature, had a fighting spirit and a breathtaking one-handed backhand. Clijsters was relentlessly powerful but more than capable of finesse when it was required. Beginning with Roland Garros in 2003, Henin would win seven Grand Slam singles titles, including four of five French Opens.

Clijsters won the 2005 US Open, took two years off to have a daughter, then returned to overcome injuries and win three more majors. Statistically, their career numbers are eerily similar.

Henin: 525-115 (80 percent), 43 titles.

Clijsters: 523-132 (79.8 percent), 41 titles.

They both had numerous runs at No.1 and, for fans of drama, produced multiple retirements. Appropriately, Henin was enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2016. Clijsters followed one year later.

The stroke that separated Justine Henin from the rest

Storyline No.2: Maria Sharapova announces herself

She was born in deep-freeze Siberia in 1987, when it was still called the Soviet Union, but by the age of 7, Sharapova was already a U.S. citizen and a fixture on the hard courts of sun-drenched Florida.

In 2004, Sharapova won Wimbledon at the age of 17. She would go on to win the 2006 US Open, the 2008 Australian Open and, against all odds, Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014. She is one of only 10 women to achieve the career Grand Slam.

How Sharapova transformed her biggest weakness into a strength at the French Open

Storyline No.3: The Steffi Graf-Andre Agassi romance

Years ago, before Agassi dated singer Barbra Streisand or married actress Brooke Shields, he was a big fan of Fraulein Forehand. Filling out a poll of ATP players, he was asked which women’s player he admired most. “Steffi Graf,” he answered quickly. “I like everything about her.”

Two year after divorcing Shields, Agassi married Graf at their Las Vegas home in October, 2001. Two children, Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle, soon came along. Today Graf and Agassi might be better known for their philanthropic contributions to the community.


Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images

Lead storyline: The Asian surge

Li Na’s father was a professional badminton player, and she inherited his gifts of hand-eye coordination and nimble feet. By the time she was 8, at the suggestion of her coach at the Wuhan youth club, Li switched to tennis. Growing up, her favorite player was Andre Agassi -- and she patterned her game after his. In 1997, at the age of 15, she became a member of China’s national team.

Like most success stories, Li’s had a number of twists and turns, a series of disappointments, injuries and even periods of ambivalence about the sport. She reached the final of the 2011 Australian Open, losing a three-set final to Kim Clijsters, but several months later in Paris, it all came together.

Li defeated defending champion Francesca Schiavone in the final. The score was 6-4, 7-6(0) and that perfect tiebreak spoke to the 29-year-old’s determination and the desire to convert this dazzling opportunity.

“At 6-0 in the tiebreak, I was thinking, ‘OK, don’t do anything stupid,” the free-spirited winner said afterward. “Because many times I have had match point and not won the match. When I was a young player, I wanted to be a Grand Slam champion, and now I am.

“Someone said the other day that I’m getting old, so the old woman’s dream has come true.”

Li was the first Grand Slam singles champion, man or woman, from Asia and the first to break into the Top 10. Today, China has five women ranked among the Hologic WTA Tour’s Top 100, led by 20-year-old Zheng Qinwen.

Four-time major champion Naomi Osaka is another Asian pioneer.

Born to a Japanese mother and Haitian father in Osaka, she moved to the United States at the age of 3 but has always represented Japan. She was only 20 when she won the 2018 US Open -- against her idol, Serena Williams, in a contentious final. She was the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam singles title. Osaka went on to win three more majors and is currently on sabbatical awaiting the birth of her first child.

Storyline No.2: Petra Kvitova's return

In 2016, Kvitova suffered severe injuries to her playing hand when defending herself during a home invasion. The story of her triumphant return to tennis less than a year later, culminating in an emotional run to the 2019 Australian Open final, is both harrowing and inspirational.

Storyline No.3: Francesca Schiavone's late-career breakthrough

Schiavone won the French Open at the age of 29, becoming the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam. This unexpected, late-in-the-curve breakthrough, coupled with her energetic and passionate playing style, paint an inspiring portrait of resilience and determination.