“23 Years Old and Facing Rafael Nadal…”: Reilly Opelka Rates Tennis Press as the Worst

Published 10/08/2021, 2:13 PM EDT
Sep 2, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Reilly Opelka of the United States celebrates after recording match point against Lorenzo Musetti of Italy in a second round match on day four of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports


Current America no.1 player Reilly Opelka is having an incredible season at the ATP tour this year. He will be playing his second-round match at Indian Wells against the Japanese player Taro Daniel tomorrow.

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Opelka, who defeated the likes of Aslan Karatsev, Richard Gasquet, and Lorenzo Musetti to reach his first-ever Masters 1000 semi-final at the Italian Open, lost in the final four to the eventual champion, Rafael Nadal.

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Reilly Opelka is having a great run on the ATP tour this year

The American also put up a decent performance during the grass-court season by reaching the men’s doubles final at Queen’s Club Championships. But, the US hard-court season is where Opelka managed to clinch his first title of the year as he partnered with Jannik Sinner to win the Atlanta Open doubles.

Also, Opelka recorded his best-ever run at the US Open by reaching the pre-quarters. Because of these consistent results, the American was seeded no.16 at the BNP Paribas Open 2021.

Speaking ahead of his second-round match at Indian Wells, the American had some tough words to say about the tennis media and journalists in general.

Aug 14, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Reilly Opelka of the United States plays a shot against Stefanos Tsiitsipas of Greece in the semi finals of the National Bank Open at Aviva Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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These guys are awful, there are bad journalists. You have some people who are just criticizing, who are always negative, people who don’t know anything about tennis. I honestly think we have the worst press of any sport”, opined the American.

Although Opelka mentioned that there are still a few good journalists doing great work in covering the sport, he felt that none of these people had interviewed him so far in his career.

I‘m sure they do. There are good journalists, but none of them have been able to interview me or be in my press conferences. I reach the final in Toronto and these people ask me what is the problem with American tennis, why are there no American players in the top -30. The same thing happened to me in Rome”, Opelka continued.

Sep 2, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Reilly Opelka of the United States serves against Lorenzo Musetti of Italy in a second round match on day four of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

“I am 23 years old and I am facing Rafa” – Opelka blasts tennis media for not asking the right questions

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When it comes to American players, the attention is being diverted towards why there are no slam winners since Andy Roddick. Opelka explained how difficult it was to be in constant comparison with the former American legends like Sampras and Agassi.

I am 23 years old and I am facing Rafa, I think things are going well. I reached the final in Toronto and we are going to talk about how the Americans don’t win Grand Slams?”, expressed Opelka in an honest interview.

Aug 9, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Reilly Opelka of the United States returns a ball to Nick Kyrgios of Australia (not pictured) at Aviva Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The criteria for a player to be deemed successful is not just making numbers during his reign on-tour. Having achieved his best-possible so far on the ATP tour, Reilly Opelka has a great chance of making it big at the BNP Paribas Open 2021. Hopefully, that will also get the press off his back.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

466 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Sagar has completed his graduation in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

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