Reilly Opelka to play Tennys Sandgren in his official return to tennis at Charlottesville Challenger

Reilly Opelka (L) and Tennys Sandgren (R)
Reilly Opelka (L) and Tennys Sandgren (R)

Reilly Opelka is set to take the court once again on the professional circuit as he will play at the Charlottesville Men's Pro Challenger in the US.

The former World No. 17 will face fellow American Tennys Sandgren on October 30 in his first match in nearly 15 months. His last contest on the ATP Tour was against Nick Kyrgios at the 2022 Citi Open. The Australian defeated Opelka in the Round of 16, 7-6 (1), 6-2.

Since then, the American suffered injuries to his hip and wrist, which kept him out of action and led him to eventually fall out of the ATP rankings. Charlottesville Men's Pro Challenger will serve as a launching pad for the 26-year-old, who hopes to play full ATP season next year. He recently confirmed his appearance at the Challenger tournament on Instagram while responding to a question by a fan.

"Hoping to play in Charlottesville in 10 days," he wrote.

Opelka has faced Sandgren three times in his career. Twice on the Challenger Tour and once on the ATP Tour. Sandgren won the first two contests at the 2017 Sarasota Challenger and the 2017 Charlottesville Challenger. Meanwhile, Opelka won their lone ATP Tour clash at the 2019 Delray Beach Open, 6-4, 6-0.

Michael Mmoh, Alex Michelsen and Benoit Paire are the top three seeds at the 2023 Charlottesville Men's Pro Challenger.

Reilly Opelka recently shared pictures of his recovery over the last year

Reilly Opelka
Reilly Opelka

Ahead of his much-awaited return to professional tennis, Reilly Opelka took to Instagram to share images from over the last year in which he was nursing various injuries. The carousel of images featured Opelka with a cast and crutches alongside friend and fellow ATP star Tommy Paul.

Paul was also seen trying the giant crutches, adjusted to Opelka's stature of 6-foot-11, and captured signing off Opelka's cast. Other images included Opelka in a gym training session. The post was captioned:

"Storms never last."

Before injuries derailed his career, Reilly Opelka was making significant strides on the ATP Tour. He had won two titles on the 2022 ATP Tour, both in the US. Opelka won the inaugural edition of the Dallas Open after beating Jenson Brooksby 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) in the final.

The second title of the year came at the US Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston, where he bettered John Isner in the title contest, 6-3, 7-6 (7).

Reilly Opelka's other two titles on the ATP Tour also came in the US: the 2018 New York Open and the 2020 Delray Beach Open.

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