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  • Reilly Opelka says no tennis junior aspires to be a "doubles specialist" as he suggests reforms and continues attack on the category
Reilly Opelka continues attack on doubles category

Reilly Opelka says no tennis junior aspires to be a "doubles specialist" as he suggests reforms and continues attack on the category

Reilly Opelka is carrying on with his protest of stripping doubles tennis of its current status.

The American athlete himself has played doubles before and has one title to his name, partnering with Jannik Sinner at the 2021 Atlanta Open. The former World No. 17, however, believes that that’s as far as it should go when it comes to the category, meaning that only those who are successful singles players should be allowed to contest doubles.


During his appearance on the Craig Shapiro Tennis Podcast, Reilly Opelka stated that a good idea for the ATP 250 and 500 level tournaments would be to cut the doubles line-up in half and conduct the fixtures during the final three days of the tournament.

“At the 250 and 500 level I would say Friday, Saturday, Sunday – doubles. So, you cut the draw in half right then and there. And I would only allow the guys that are in singles to enter the doubles draw,” Reilly Opelka said.
Reilly Opelka and Jannik Sinner at the 2021 Atlanta Open

The tennis player also made some uncomplimentary statements about the category and the players contesting it.

“I don’t think anyone is really a doubles specialist. I mean, if you go to any junior tournament and you ask bunch of young, aspiring tennis players, ‘What are your goals? What’s your end game? What do you dream of in tennis? There’s not a single one that’s gonna tell you – ‘I want to be a doubles specialist,’” he said.
“They don’t choose doubles, doubles chooses them, I think. It might be harsh, I don’t mean to be harsh. I’m looking at it just from a business stand point,” he added.

Reilly Opelka says doubles tennis is “walk in the park” for singles players such as Nick Kyrgios and John Isner

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis at the 2022 Australian Open

Reilly Opelka backed his claims of there being “no doubles specialists” by highlight the dominant runs in the category staged by singles players such as Jack Sock and John Isner as well as Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, who were the 2022 Australian Open doubles champions.

“If Isner and Sock and Kyrgios- Kokkinakis wanted to just dedicate their time to doubles -- look what Isner did last year. He almost won all the matches with different partners. Walk in the park for him I’d say. Sock (has played) big Grand Slam matches that he’s barely warmed up for in doubles,” Reilly Opelka said.

The American also touched upon Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler’s newly-formed partnership at the 2023 Australian Open, where the pair snatched the doubles trophy.

“Hijikata and Jason Kubler paired up for the first time. I don’t think they were ranked top-100 in doubles and they go out and they walk through a Grand Slam. When was the last time that’s happened in singles? When was the last time a guy not in the top-50, let alone top-100 just showed up and walked through a Grand Slam?” he wondered.
Edited by
Shyam Kamal
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