Back in February, Reilly Opelka completed a wild run at the New York Open to claim the first ATP title on the black hard court. In July, Reilly confirmed he would defend the title in New York next year and found time to visit NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum a few days ago, spending time with kids and fans.
Working in Florida with his coach Jay Berger, Reilly is trying to improve his return game and be even more competitive in the season ahead of us, representing the USA at the ATP Cup and heading to Adelaide and Melbourne after that.
The 22-year-old kicked off the year from just inside the top-100, cracking the top-40 after advancing into the semi-final in Atlanta, Tokyo and Basel. Still, his result of the season came in New York, standing on the verge of the defeat against four opponents but overcoming all the obstacles to grab five wins and claim the maiden ATP crown.
In the semis, Reilly defended six match points against John Isner and went on to beat a surprising finalist Brayden Schnur 6-1, 6-7, 7-6 in another thriller to lift the trophy. In 2020, Kevin Anderson, Kei Nishikori, Nick Kyrgios, Reilly Opelka and Brayden Schnur should all return and compete for the title on the unique black court at Long Island.
"I love New York," Opelka said. "The New York Open goes on during New York Fashion Week, so I was in the city every night. I was in the right place mentally, happy and pretty laid back. The New York Open courts suit my game well.
The courts aren't too fast, which gives me more time to swing and set up my shots. I'm holding serve 91% of the time and score around 8% of breaks, which are pretty extreme numbers in opposite directions. Hopefully, 8% goes up to about 15%, and if that happens, I will definitely be ranked a lot higher."