Tennis Prose



Opelka Returns With Win

Former ATP world no. 17 and winner of four ATP singles titles Reilly Opelka returned to professional tennis competition after being sidelined for 15 months.

With a wildcard entry into the Charlottesville ATP Challenger, the 26 year old Opelka defeated old rival Tennys Sandgren 64 75. The big serving America endured wrist and hip problems which cost him all of his ranking points. His last match was in Washington DC last summer, a straight set loss to Nick Kyrgios.

It was an important match for Opelka against the 266th ranked Sandgren, who he has an interesting history with. The two Americans first played in the first round of the 2017 Sarasota Open Challenger on center court. Sandgren, at the time a struggling journeyman won that marathon epic 64 67 76 which seemed to ignite his career.

Surviving and beating Opelka that day helped Sandgren to go on a roll, where he reached the final (lost to Tiafoe). Soon after Sarasota, Sandgren would play in his first Grand Slam main draw, break into the top 100 and win his first ATP World Tour matches in Washington DC against Go Soeda 76 63 and Nick Kyrgios 63 30 ret.

In 2018, Sandgren would explode to a new level in the ATP. He would reach the quarterfinals at the 2018 Australian Open, defeating world no. 5 Dominic Thiem. Before the 2018 AO, Sandgren had never won a Grand Slam main draw match (0-2).

Sandgren also beat Opelka at the 2017 Charlottesville Challenger 63 64 in R32, a win that propelled Sandgren to reach the final (lost to Tim Smyczek in three sets).

Opelka avenged Sandgren at the 2019 Delray Beach Open R32 with a 64 60 win. The week before Delray Beach, Opelka won his first ATP title at New York Open.

So if there really is some kind of supernatural career jolting energies that Opelka and Sandgren produce when they play each other – and there seems to be – we can probably expect Opelka to have a successful forthcoming season and he will regain his status as an elite ATP force.

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  • Cory · November 1, 2023 at 4:27 pm

    It’s gotta be the Red Bull. Better than H2o.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 1, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Not sure to trust those artificial performance enhancing energy drinks 🙂 But if you can convince me…

  • Cory · November 1, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    hahaha… I’m with you… artificial anything is no bueno… I see him drinking Red Bull on the court and i just cannot believe it. Who was it that used to drink coffee at his chair?

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 1, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    Cory, I would be surprised if anyone really drank red bull on the court, there are more natural options. Don’t remember anyone drinking coffee, or was it a couple of wta players who ordered it not long ago? I was told Agassi ordered a beer during a match in Tampa early in his career, the ballboy brought it to him, the ballboy is the guy who told me about it about four years ago at the women’s ITF in Tampa won by Krejcikova.

  • Cory · November 3, 2023 at 10:15 am

    I witnessed Opelka drinking Red Bull during a Challenger – saw it live on Challenger TV… as far as the coffee goes, there are clips of a few players ordering coffee on YT (S. Williams, e.g.). Sampras was before my time watching, but I coulda sworn hearing that he used to sometimes drink java during matches. If it wasn’t Sampras, it was another 80’s era big name. Hmm.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 3, 2023 at 11:09 am

    Cory, can’t bring a red bull or coke or anything on the court to drink unless it’s ATP approved, meaning they get paid for it. Opelka tried to carry that bag with the art gallery logo on court and was fined for that. Maybe the Challenger circuit is less strict.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 3, 2023 at 11:10 am

    BTW Opelka withdraw before his second round match, not sure why. Hopefully not due to injury.



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