Reilly Opelka has expressed his displeasure at the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) going forward with tournaments in China. Although the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has canceled all events in the country in solidarity with Chinese athlete Peng Shuai, the men's tennis body has taken no such measures.
For those unaware, Peng went missing for a brief period last year after her accusations of sexual assault against a high-ranking Chinese politician came to light. The former doubles No. 1 eventually resurfaced and has been spotted sporadically in the public eye since then, but concerns for her safety and freedom continue to linger to this day.
The WTA was vocal in its support of Peng from the very beginning and even went as far as to cancel tournaments in the country. Its willingness to take on a powerful country like China in order to stand with one of their own has received praise from all quarters.
The ATP, however, did no such thing. In a lukewarm statement released last year, the association stated that it would persist with events in China. The ATP stated it wanted to "maintain a global presence" as a means to create maximum impact in the sport.
This has been confirmed by the ATP's recent announcement of their season calendar for the second half of the year. The calendar includes four tournaments in China -- the ATP 250 Chengdu Open and Zhuhai Championships (September 26 - October 2), the ATP 500 China Open (October 3-9) and the ATP 1000 Rolex Shanghai Masters (October 9-16).
Reilly Opelka was among the many people unhappy with the ATP for going ahead with tournaments in China and not following the WTA's lead, despite there being long-standing rumors of a merger of the two governing bodies.
"One day ATP wants to merge with WTA and the next [thing you know], we are playing a full schedule in China," Opelka tweeted along with a shrugging emoji.
Reilly Opelka also changed his profile picture on Twitter to a screenshot of the ATP's schedule showing the confirmed tournaments in China to further emphasize his point. It it likely that the 24-year-old is implying that the ATP would not want to miss out on the additional revenue from the lucrative tournaments in China, an issue he has been railing against the organization for a long time.
Reilly Opelka kicks off his 2022 Indian Wells Masters campaign against either Lorenzo Musetti or Marcos Giron
Seeded 17th in the 2022 Indian Wells Masters, Reilly Opelka has received a bye in the first round. In the second round, he will face either compatriot Marcos Giron or Italy's Lorenzo Musetti.
A win in that match would likely pit the World No. 17 against 13th seed Denis Shapovalov. Should he beat the Canadian, he could meet the fourth seed Rafael Nadal in the next round.
Opelka is yet to get past the third round of the tournament and will want to improve this time around.