"I think it's a great step," Reilly Opelka, the 22-year-old from Delray Beach said smilingly as he couldn't believe he'd do so well during the coronavirus pandemic times in the United States. He was the first player in the ATP tour who's came out of the three month hiatus to win a title.
It was under trying conditions that Opelka put his energies and desire to work and came through. The UTR Pro Match Series took place in Palm Beach County, a round-robin tournament comprised of only four players. Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, Tommy Paul of Boca Raton, Florida, Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic and Opelka.
The event was quite unconventional as the dynamic four had to play without a supportive audience due to social distancing and pandemic reasons but despite it all, everyone did their best to settle into their format of play.
"It was a long day," Opelka shook hishead in disbelief saying "I've only been practicing like an hour, hour-and-a-half max and today was really hot...the heat definitely go to me." He had to admit that the coronavirus situation wasn't the best for staying trim and fit.
"I think my quarantine 15 (pounds) I put on was holding me down a little bit..." Besides playing twice in a day, Opelka held his game down to come through with the win and title. He had played Kecmanovic as a finale and went to his 'go to' of 11 booming serves to help dismantle the Serbian's game.
The three shortened sets: 4-3, 2-4, 4-2 might have proven in Opelka's advantage as he didn't let the Florida heat wilt his stamina and ability to put his practice routines to work. The title gave Reilly a huge boost of self-confidence as he returned to the season with a win without fans or the massive amount of tournament personnel that is a usual staple around the court.
The televised match served to satisfy fans worldwide and Opelka's take on the matter is that "..it's great for the fans and great for people that aren't necessarily tennis fans that had something to watch."
The UTR event served as Opelka's third title since turning pro in 2015. The women's version will be televised and played at the same Florida location from May 22-24 with a dynamic lineup with Alison Riske, Amanda Anisimova, Danielle Collins and Ajla Tomlanovic.