"All of that is true to certain extent" - Rennae Stubbs addresses Reilly Opelka's comments on doubles tennis

Rennae Stubbs has addressed Riley Opelka
Rennae Stubbs has addressed Riley Opelka's comments on doubles tennis.

Former doubles World No. 1 Rennae Stubbs has addressed Reilly Opelka's comments on doubles tennis and explained how the category can be improved.

Opelka has always expressed his dislike for doubles. On Saturday (March 18), he took another opportunity to repeat it by highlighting the lack of a crowd for the Indian Wells men's doubles final.

He pointed out that the stadium became relatively empty very quickly after the singles semifinal between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. That was notably the last singles match of the day at Stadium 1.

Speaking on the latest episode of "The Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast," Stubbs stated that she understood the reasons behind Opelka's statements. She said:

"I've had conversations with Reilly. The thing with Reilly is, this is an economics thing for him, right? He feels like in certain tournaments, the tournament has to pay the double players to be there.
"They have to give them a place, pay for their hotels etc. Like, paying for their food. And he feels like it's taking the economics away from the singles players, particularly in smaller tournaments."

She added:

"He has a point in some respects. You can say that doubles players don't sell tickets as well near to a lot of singles players. But those players that don't get a lot of publicity have to play against the higher singles ranking. So without them you can't have a tournament. All of that is true to certain extent."

Stubbs, a six-time doubles Grand Slam winner across women's and mixed categories, believes that a few tweaks will improve the popularity of the category massively. She opined:

"I think that they should make the doubles draws smaller. I think economics wise, that makes sense.
"Wimbledon has now this year announced that it will not be best of five sets from the first round on in the men's doubles, which I think is a great idea. Because there was nothing worse than having to play after a men’s doubles match because they would go for fucking five hours at Wimbledon sometimes."

She added:

"If they’re doing best for three across the board, I think it's a good idea and you might get singles players playing doubles now because that's one of the reasons why they don't play.
"Who wants to go and play a five-hour doubles match and then play singles match the next day? No way. So I think that's a positive."

Altering the length of matches isn't the only change the 51-year-old suggested. Stubbs added that tweaking the size of the draws will also make doubles a more attractive viewing for the fans.

"I would like to see maybe the draws smaller. Make the drawers a little bit smaller rather than a 32 doubles draw make it a 16 doubles draw, or even in some cases an eight doubles draw," Stubbs explained.
"And, you know, you might get some really top players playing doubles a little bit more. Which we would love to see because most fans love watching doubles."

"Hoping to see you all on court soon" - Reilly Opelka hints at impending tennis comeback

Reilly Opelka in action at the 2022 Citi Open.
Reilly Opelka in action at the 2022 Citi Open.

Having withdrawn from the 2023 Indian Wells Masters, American tennis player Reilly Opelka has hinted at a possible comeback to the tennis court.

Opelka was last seen in action at the Citi Open in Washington last year, where he lost to Nick Kyrgios in the second round. He hasn't competed since due to a hip injury.

The 25-year-old recently took to social media to state that he was looking forward to returning to action very soon.

"Wishing I could be rocking @filatennis Tie Breaker collection in the desert this year, but hoping to see you all on court 🔜," Reilly Opelka captioned his Instagram post.

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Edited by Anantaajith Raghuraman
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