Reilly Opelka Set To Play First Match In 15 Months At Charlottesville Challenger

Reilly Opelka Set To Play First Match In 15 Months At Charlottesville Challenger

by Nurein Ahmed

After spending over a year on the sidelines, Reilly Opelka will make his comeback to the tennis courts at next week's ATP Challenger 75 event in Charlottesville.

Opelka has been granted a wild card in a 32-player singles field featuring many American players, including Michael Mmoh (top seed), Zachary Svajda, and former collegiate star Alex Michelsen.

Main draw action at the Charlottesville Challenger commences on Monday, October 30, and is primarily contested on indoor hard courts.

The 26-year-old Opelka has been drawn to face fellow American and former Top 50 player Tennys Sandgren, who is the eighth seed at the event in the first round on Monday. The ATP's tallest player has a fine record on indoor hard courts.

Two of his four ATP titles have been won under the roof, and his very first ATP Challenger title, incidentally, came in Charlottesville in 2016. So he could draw fond memories from this tournament.

It will be the first time since August 2022 (lost to Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16 in Washington) that Opelka will compete in a competitive tennis match.

Having been ranked as high as No. 17 on the ATP Tour, Opelka will play at the Challenger level for the first time since 2019 (reached the semifinal of the Dallas Challenger). He has battled a complicated hip injury that needed surgery in the past year.

In one of his interviews earlier this season, he explained that the hip was fully healed but picked up a wrist injury during his recovery period, delaying his return. Opelka was forced to withdraw from a plethora of tennis tournaments, including all four Grand Slams.

Even while holding hope of playing at the UTS exhibition tournament in Frankfurt, sadly, he didn't attain sufficient fitness levels. Opelka is currently unranked, and his most recent update on his Instagram account should fill tennis fans with optimism.

Opelka shared pictures while on crutches detailing his gruesome experience with the caption, "Storms never last," as he prepares to pick up a racket again.


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