Reilly Opelka withdraws from Indian Wells a year after challenging Rafael Nadal



by JOVICA ILIC

Reilly Opelka withdraws from Indian Wells a year after challenging Rafael Nadal

The 25-year-old American Reilly Opelka last played in Washington last August. Reilly left the top-100 this week for the first time since January 2019 after dropping 150 points from the last year's Delray Beach final. Opelka is still not ready to compete again, withdrawing from Indian Wells a year after challenging Rafael Nadal at the season's first Masters 1000 event.

The American has not talked much about his issues, undergoing hip surgery and staying away from the court for half a year. Opelka claimed four ATP 250 titles at home in the USA between New York 2019 and Houston last April.

Reilly was ranked 17th a year ago and will have to work hard to crack the top-20 again once he returns to action. The American kicked off the previous season ranked 26th and reached the Australian Open third round. Heading home, Opelka embraced a notable swing in Dallas and Delray Beach.

Reilly Opelka left the top-100 for the first time since January 2019.

He conquered the title in Houston following tight victories over John Isner and Jenson Brooksby in four tie breaks. Reilly experienced additional eight tie breaks in Delray Beach and failed to go all the way following a 7-6, 7-6 loss final loss to Cameron Norrie.

Opelka gave his best against Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells, falling 7-6, 7-6 and retiring in the opening match in Miami. Reilly was a player to beat in Houston, ousting Nick Kyrgios and John Isner to secure the season's second title and the fourth overall.

Opelka could have played better on clay in Europe, reaching the Geneva semi-final and losing in the first match in the other four events, including Roland Garros. Things could have been better on grass too, scoring one victory at Wimbledon and experiencing three losses.

Struggling physically, Reilly took a couple of weeks off and returned to action in Washington in August. The giant server prevailed over Denis Kudla in the first round, winning sets two and three and blasting 28 aces. Opelka faced Nick Kyrgios in the second match and experienced a 7-6, 6-2 loss in 76 minutes.

As we already said, it has been Reilly's last match on the Tour, skipping the rest of the season following hip surgery and missing all the events in 2023. The American played one of his best matches of 2022 against Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells.

The Spaniard prevailed in two tie breaks after two hours and 11 minutes. Opelka did his best to follow the rival's pace, serving at 76% and fending off four of five break points. The American led 4-2 in the second set before the Spaniard pulled the break back.

Nadal claimed a single mini-break in the tie break to emerge at the top and set the quarter-final clash against Nick Kyrgios.

Reilly Opelka Indian Wells Rafael Nadal