Reilly Opelka claims Stefanos Tsitsipas "can do anything he wants" with his forehand, says the 'serve-bot' term is "pretty stupid"

<a href='' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Reilly Opelka</a>
Reilly Opelka
Gauri Awasthi

Reilly Opelka's sensational run at the 2021 National Bank Open continued on Friday as he beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 7-6(1) in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals. After the match, Opelka explained why calling him or John Isner a 'serve-bot' is not justified. The American also talked at length about his next opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas, who he believes has the best forehand in the world.

Opelka thundered down 18 aces in a serving masterclass against Bautista Agut, and didn't face a single break point in an hour and 20 minutes of match play. The Spaniard upped his game in the second set, but Opelka eventually clinched the match in a one-sided tiebreak.

The World No. 32 has overcome some big names this week, including Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov, to make the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career. Not surprisingly, Reilly Opelka told the press on Friday that he thinks he's playing at a "high level" at the moment.

"It means a lot to get another semi," the American said. "I had a slow start to the year, so in terms of keeping me in the hunt for being seeded at the Slams, which is a big priority of mine, this was critical. Honestly, I had four big wins back to back, all against tough guys. I think I'm playing at a high level right now."
Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas

When asked about facing World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals, Reilly Opelka claimed that playing against one of the best players in the world would be a good test for him. Opelka had named Tsitsipas' forehand as the best in the world immediately after winning the quarterfinal match, and during his presser he further expressed his admiration for the shot.

"It will be a good test against one of the best in the world. I'm happy for the matchup," Opelka said. "If you're playing Stefanos, it means you're having a good week. It's a big moment, it's a big match because he's one of the best in the world."
"He can go anywhere with his forehand," the American added. "He's one of the few guys that can take the ball early, take time away, change direction. He can do anything he wants with it [forehand]. So, yeah, I would say that's the biggest reason why he's No. 3 in the world."

"Isner and I joke about the term serve-bot" - Reilly Opelka

Reilly Opelka
Reilly Opelka

Reilly Opelka stands nearly seven feet tall, so it is not surprising that he is one of the biggest servers in the world. Fans and mediapersons often use the term "serve-bot" to refer to him, since his serve is usually the dominant feature of his game.

In that context, Opelka opened up on how he often jokes about the somewhat derogatory term with compatriot John Isner, who is also known for his huge serve. While admitting that he finds the term "pretty stupid", Opelka asserted that he has a lot more in his game than just the serve. The American also claimed that both he and Isner have been able to use the term as a source of motivation.

"Quite frankly, Isner and I joke about the term 'serve-bot'," Opelka said. "It's pretty stupid, like, slang. Of course I leave it to the tennis media to come up with that term."
"Anyone who knows anything about tennis knows that the ball comes back no matter how good your serve is," he added. "Isner's more than just a serve, as am I. You don't get to be No. 20 in the world with just one shot. It's just silly, it's ridiculous. We just kind of throw that term around, because it's just a weird term. But we found the positive in it."

Edited by Musab Abid
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