Reilly Opelka has quickly become one of the toughest players to face on the ATP Tour, backed with one of the world’s biggest serves and underrated movement that allows him to compete well from the baseline.
The 22-year-old doesn’t allow just his tennis to define him, though, as he enjoys various hobbies off the court to stay busy when he’s not working hard towards his on-court goals.
ATPTour.com takes a look at five things to know about the American.
1) The American Loves Fashion
Throughout the world at various ATP Tour events, there’s one thing you can count on: Opelka will spend some of his free time on fashion. Whether in Tokyo, which he calls the “menswear fashion capital of the world”, or New York, where he enjoys fashion shows, the 22-year-old always has his eyes on the fashion scene.
In some cases, like in Tokyo, Opelka isn’t necessarily looking to buy anything. He simply enjoys checking out what local designers come up. Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, frequents tennis tournaments, and Opelka would enjoy the chance to meet her one day.
“I’d love to [meet her]. For sure [it’s on the bucket list],” Opelka said. “I follow Harper’s Bazaar, I read a lot. I read all different types of outlets from that [fashion] standpoint.”
Photo Credit: Reilly Opelka
2) Opelka Is A ‘Foodie’
Opelka doesn’t solely focus on fashion. He enjoys high-quality food, too.
“In New York, I was eating good. I love this restaurant called Moreia. I love Italian. I was ordering an Italian dish there as well, Gnocchetti. Carbone is really good there. I was going to Per Se. I was eating [at a] ton of good foodie spots pretty much every night. Le Coucou is another one,” Opelka said.
Will you catch the big man cooking, though?
“Absolutely not,” Opelka said. “Zero chance. Never.”
[TENNIS AT HOME]
3) He Has Lifted Trophies In Two Straight Seasons
The American won his two ATP Tour trophies only 53 weeks apart.
Opelka clinched his maiden tour-level title last February at the New York Open by defeating Brayden Schnur in a third-set tie-break. He also saved six match points against John Isner in a thrilling semi-final clash. Opelka finished the week with 156 aces, including 43 in the championship match, and closed out the tournament with 68 consecutive service holds.
He also triumphed at this year’s Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, doing double duty on the tournament’s final day. Opelka rallied past former World No. 3 Milos Raonic, saving a match point in the semi-finals to triumph 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3, before crushing 27 aces en route to a 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2 victory against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka for the title.
4) He Has Been Quarantining With Tommy Paul
Opelka is good friends with his fellow rising Americans, including Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul, and he has been quarantining with Paul during the COVID-19 pandemic. One day, he posted on Instagram that they were watching the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN.
You know times are tough when I am excited about watching @Taylor_Fritz97 stream his Fortnite tournament on Monday..
— Reilly Opelka (@ReillyOpelka) April 12, 2020
5) Opelka Graduated From Challengers
Opelka set up his breakthrough 2019 season with a dominant run in 2018 on the ATP Challenger Tour. He finished the year with back-to-back Challenger titles in the United States and reached the championship match in four of his last six Challenger events.
“It was the first time I consistently put together a lot of matches in a row. I reached a lot of semi-finals and I think the year before there wasn’t one week where I had won three matches in a row,” Opelka said. “Being able to play on the Challenger Tour and not as many ATP Tour events helped me string all those matches together. It gave me a lot of confidence and I learned a lot about myself and my tennis. It allowed me to work on some things that I knew needed to be addressed.”
Source: ATP World Tour