Opelka to start title defense in New York with confidence

Opelka to start title defense in New York with confidence

After a long 2019 season, Reilly Opelka climbed more than forty ranking spots, and did some growing in the process.

Reilly Opelka doesn't have any improving to do when it comes to New York. The 22-year-old is the defending champion, having won his first tour title at the event in 2019. Still, he says he's improved as a player since lifting the trophy.

"The season’s long, been a lot of places, played a lot more matches, grown a lot on and off the court as expected. Everything has just gotten a lot better," Opelka was quoted as saying by Newsday, noting he's even showing a high level of play in his defeats. "I’ll go back and look at them. I’m playing good tennis."

Ranked No. 89 when he won New York, he's now No. 40 in the rankings.

Though he's 0-2 to start the season, Opelka says he's done offseason training to get physically better equipped to play a full schedule, specially at the Grand Slams. The 6'11" big-serving player had been having problems with injury, which affected him in a second-round defeat at the US Open.

"I have been doing a lot of work in the gym, moving a lot of weight. Making my body a lot stronger so my body can tolerate those five-set matches," he said. "I usually play those matches fine, it’s just the recovery the next day or two days later. I have no problem playing them, I can play all day. "Opelka is the third seed, and will play against Yoshihito Nishioka