The 22-year-old American Reilly Opelka will make a season debut at the ASB Classic in Auckland next week, joining Novak Djokovic, Alex de Minaur, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz. Opelka had a breakthrough run in 2019, entering the year with eight ATP win under his name and producing 27 from 50 matches in the last 12 months, claiming his first ATP title in New York and cracking the top-40.
After that incredible run in New York, Reilly lost the ground a little bit, waiting until Atlanta for another notable result on the Tour and advancing into the semis in Tokyo and Basel by the end of the year, enough to wrap up the season in the top-40.
Tall American who works at West Palm Beach in Florida feels he has to make crucial moves in the next couple of years before reaching his peak at the age of 25 or 26, the best years for tennis in his opinion. Reilly had to miss a couple of weeks after the US Open and that helped him to recharge batteries and get back stronger, hoping for more good results like in Tokyo and Basel, especially against the top-ranked players as he already has four top-10 wins on his tally.
"I've made a lot of friends all over the world, and with stuff like fashion, I've been lucky to have friends in Milan and other cities who take me to good places that aren't so touristy, and help me find things I like," Opelka said.
"That's the best part of this life, having friends everywhere who take you to places they're comfortable with, and I'm not. The next few years are huge for me, because a tennis player usually peaks at the age of 25 or 26.
Tennis makes you mature faster, because you're on your own a lot, traveling 30-plus weeks a year mostly by yourself. You learn a lot about yourself, being alone, and being in an individual sport teaches you a lot of things, from the standpoint of learning how to run a business.
It was all new and exciting at first, but then you do all that and run out of ideas, so you have to find other things to do. I'm a foodie, so I love to try a ton of different international foods. New York has the best food in the world; everyone knows that.
Still, I like eating everywhere, especially in Tokyo. I had 5-6 injections at the Hospital Special Surgery and couldn't leave New York City for about ten days after I lost at the US Open; that helped a lot. Having two weeks off, not touching a racket and being around friends and family, it was refreshing. The last two months on Tour didn't feel so bad because I had that break."