Wimbledon has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late after the ATP and WTA decided to strip ranking points from the tournament in light of the grasscourt Major's ban on Russian and Belarusian players. While most players have spoken about the reduced importance of Wimbledon with no ranking points involved, Opelka feels the problem is much bigger than the absence of points.
In a post on Twitter, the World No. 18 said that winning Wimbledon this year will be an "inferior accomplishment" due to the absence of a competitive field.
"A lot of people seem to be missing the “point” it’s not about the “points”. I believe Wimbledon 2022 will be an inferior accomplishment due to the absence of the best possible field," Opelka wrote.
The Michigan native believes that the biggest tournaments like Wimbledon should have a full strength draw, the absence of which takes away the integrity of the event. He expressed that those playing the event, like himself, will have an "unfair advantage".
"Sport is the ultimate meritocracy. When you take some of the best players in the world out of the draw based on merit you erode the integrity of the event. It’s about the competitive advantage given to players, like myself by virtue to other great players not being able to play," Opelka said.
A Twitter user responded to the towering American player's sentiment, noting that big players often pull out of Slams due to reasons like injuries and bans on account of bad behaviour.
However, Opelka stressed that the current ban on Russian and Belarusian players is a different matter altogether.
"Injuries are part of sport, managing behavior/emotions on court are part of sport. Discrimination/xenophobia cannot be part of sport," Reilly Opelka said.
Can Reilly Opelka produce his best result at a Grand Slam at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships?
Regardless of the issues Reilly Opelka raised about the absence of top players, the 6'11" American has the ingredients to whip up a strong campaign at Wimbledon.
Known initially only for his big serve, he has since worked on improving other aspects of his game. The 24-year-old has won two of his four ATP titles this season, in Dallas and Houston.
Reilly Opelka also achieved his highest career ranking of No. 17 in February.
His best result at a Grand Slam came at the 2021 US Open, where he reached the fourth round. The World No. 18 will look to match that result at the very least at the upcoming Wimbledon Championships.
The American's big serve and booming forehand promise to be even more lethal on the grass courts of Wimbledon, where players with such qualities have tasted great success over the years.