Over the years, some of the best tennis documentaries have been released. From high-drama accounts to play-by-play narrated films, tennis has been showcased in many ways.
However, the sport is often underrepresented in TV and film, leading to many people wondering if and where they can find a high-quality documentary about the sport.
Luckily, we’ve gone through various tennis documentaries, read user feedback and official reviews, and have a great list of options to watch at home. Whether you’re a recreational tennis player or are a superfan of greats like Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams, John McEnroe, or anyone else: we’ve got a documentary for you.
These documentaries cover the players’ professional and personal lives and are certainly ways to get to know someone for who they truly are.
Are you curious to see which tennis documentary takes the crown? Keep reading below!
10. Venus and Serena (2012)
- Released: 2012
- IMDB Score: 6.5/10
One of the most famous sets of siblings in tennis are Serena and Venus Williams. This documentary, released in 2012, gives us insight into their rise to fame, alongside the many hardships that both players endured to get here.
Serena and Venus Williams have always been captivating tennis players, gaining attention from mainstream media. Recently, they’ve graced magazine covers, attended premier events and red carpets, and inspired millions of tennis fans and players worldwide.
This documentary gives us an unprecedented look into the extremely private world of Venus and Serena, showing their personal health battles and storytelling from their childhood on and off the court. If you love either player, watch ‘Venus and Serena.’
Here’s another article you may like: 10 Best Female Tennis Players of All Time (Profiles & Records)
9. McEnroe (2022)
- Released: 2022
- IMDB Score: 6.9/10
One of the more recent and best tennis documentaries yet to watch is ‘McEnroe,’ which goes deeper into the professional personal/life of John McEnroe. This documentary has been described as polarizing by those who have watched it, and we would have to agree.
John McEnroe has changed how many people see tennis players and the sport in general because of his antics and over-the-top personality. This documentary comes from the angle of McEnroe, retelling stories from events in his professional career.
Showtime is the network that put this documentary together, and for fans of McEnroe, or even those who do not like him, this could be a nice way to get to know him. He’s heavily involved in the narration/interview segments, so that’s something to remember before tuning in.
8. Love Means Zero (2017)
- Released: 2017
- IMDB Score: 7.1/10
Before world-famous tennis players rise to stardom, a powerful coach stands closely behind them. In ‘Love Means Zero,’ we’re taken through an interview with tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who is often described by tennis stars as one of the more relentless figures in the game.
In this documentary, Bollettieri describes his coaching, working with multiple grand slam winners and ten world No. 1 players. These include icons like Agassi, the Williams sisters, Sharapova, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova.
One of the standout features of this film is we’re getting a recount from the late Nick Bollettieri, mixed with a bit of humor that will tug on your heartstrings. After all, he was the first professional tennis player and coach to create an academy for younger players: so he’s impacted the sport heavily.
7. Untold: Breaking Point (2021)
- Released: 2021
- IMDB Score: 7.6
Once Netflix started dipping its toes into the tennis documentary genre, we knew they would produce something spectacular. That sentiment proved correct with the streaming giants’ release of ‘Untold: Breaking Point,’ which documents Mardy Fish’s historic tennis career and mental health journey.
One of the reasons this documentary is rated so highly is that it feels 100% genuine. Mardy Fish has been training his entire life, treating tennis with higher priority than his own well-being many times.
Throughout this documentary, viewers are offered a deeper look into the players’ anxiety disorder, and this feels like a powerful statement from Mardy to anyone potentially struggling in silence. Mental health is health: which ‘Untold: Breaking Point’ does a spectacular job of highlighting.
6. McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice (2011)
- Released: 2011
- IMDB Score: 7.8/10
Sticking to the theme of rivalries, another tennis documentary worth binging is ‘McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice.” This film shows the infamous rivalry between players John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, often described as one of the fiercest in tennis.
One of the reasons this rivalry became so talked about by mainstream sports fans and media was how dramatic and fiery the two players would become on and off the court.
Unlike some of the other documentaries on this list, the Google response votes to this film give it an almost perfect score of 94%, which is impressive.
5. Andy Murray: Resurfacing (2019)
- Released: 2019
- IMDB Score: 7.8/10
The next tennis documentary to highlight is Andy Murray’s story in ‘Andy Murray: Resurfacing.’ This film was released in 2019 and covered the tennis star’s devastating injury journey between 2017-2019.
Like many professional tennis players, Andy Murray became injured and underwent hip resurfacing surgery in 2019. This symbolized an end to his debilitating pain for many years, and through this documentary, we all get a closer look at this story.
The documentary feels incredibly personal, as camera crews lived with Murray through his pre and post-surgery, so this one is more emotional.
4. The Journeymen (2004)
- Released: 2004
- IMDB Score: 7.8/10
Traveling back to the early 2000s, we have a riveting documentary, ‘The Journeymen,’ which gives us a deeper look into how hard playing tennis professionally can be. This documentary has more of a raw, sometimes disheartening tone, with Mark Keil and Geoff Grant carrying cameras around and taping their journey on the pro tour years.
Of course, this was far before iPhones were a thing, so we get to see a raw version of a pro tennis player’s life in the 2000s. Many reviews of this film credit it for being authentic to what this sport means and is a must-see for tennis lovers.
The truth sometimes hurts, and this documentary puts that into perspective effortlessly.
3. Unstrung (2007)
- Released: 2007
- IMDB Score: 8/10
Another early-2000s tennis documentary that we’d consider a must-watch is ‘Unstrung,’ which exposes the dramas of the junior tennis world. Unlike many tennis documentaries, this feels more like an exposé piece, an interesting take on the sport.
Notably, ‘Unstrung’ details a handful of teenage competitors heading for the national championship, alongside everyday drama on and off the court.
Tennis documentaries don’t always feel relatable to younger players, so this could be a great option to share with new players and get them more engaged with the sport. Drama is a key factor in this film: so we can’t help but continue streaming.
2. Roger Federer. The Reunion. (2021)
- Released: 2021
- IMDB Score: 8.1/10
Another tennis documentary worth checking out is a newer one surrounding the player’s life, career, and philanthropic work. Throughout this documentary, Roger Federer is interviewed about his early childhood and the heartaches that came with it.
In this film, Federer returns to his mother’s home country of South Africa and makes it his mission to help the people in his community, which is highlighted in this documentary.
Unlike other tennis players known for their antics and larger-than-life personas, Roger Federer takes on this documentary with more grace, and it feels 100% authentic. This film also has a few big-name co-stars, including Bill Gates, Rafael Nadal, and Trevor Noah.
Of the list, this documentary is one of the more emotional accounts.
1. Strokes of Genius (2018)
- Released: 2018
- IMDB Score: 8.1/10
For lovers of either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, this documentary covers the two through their careers and personal lives and is a highly-rated choice for viewers. Specifically, this documentary covers their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship, which highlighted the technical side of tennis and how graceful the sport could be.
Like most documentaries, this one is narrated, diving deeper into that Wimbledon championship, with Federer being a previous winner grand slam tournament and Nadal wanting to win for the first time. The entire film tells each player’s sides, which are dramatically different.
One player has tasted acclaim, and the other is desperate for it.
There’s Nothing Better Than A Great Tennis Documentary
Whether you play tennis, watch it religiously, or consider it a hobby, finding a great documentary on the sport and its many renowned players isn’t always easy.
In this list, we were able to share groundbreaking films, exposing the inside minds of players and the sport itself: the best being ‘Strokes of Genius’.