Headlines about this young tennis professional usually include some pun on his height, and it’s easy to see why. These tall puns are low-hanging fruit, but we’re going to explore a little bit more about Reilly, his life, and his tennis career.
|Born: 28 August, 1997
|6 ft 11 inch (2.11 meters)
|225 lbs / 102kg
|Father: George Opelka
Mother: Lynne Opelka
Sister: Brenna Opelka
Who is Reilly Opelka?
This American tennis player is tied as the tallest player ever on the ATP, and he’s got both a personality and a beard to match.
He turned pro after beginning to play tennis seriously at age 12, and even though he has a massive serve that’s earned him the nickname “servebot,” he’s open about the fact that he won’t be the person to save American men’s tennis.
In fact, Reilly is open about pretty much anything and everything. He’s intensely critical of the tennis media and the politics taking place in the ATP, but he loves to talk about art and fashion.
He tweets openly about his love for a variety of sports, including basketball and MMA, and engages with his followers there. He speaks about his admiration for John McEnroe and his dislike for the Indian Wells tournament because “tennis is secondary.”
Reilly Opelka’s Coach: Reilly works with Jay Berger as his coach, and he has spoken about his professional interest in Venus Williams and how he enjoys learning from her.
Reilly Opelka turned pro in 2015 at the age of 18 in the same year as his good friend Taylor Fritz. The two are very close, with Reilly serving as the best man at Taylor’s wedding, despite the fact that Reilly knocked Taylor out of the 2015 Junior Wimbledon tournament.
But Taylor isn’t Reilly’s only famous friend. In fact, retired tennis star Andy Roddick came to Reilly’s defense in 2022 after Reilly was fined by the ATP for wearing a hat during his trophy presentation.
He also regularly trains with Venus Williams, and the two are often seen together in photos on social media. Some speculate the two may be dating, but neither has confirmed this rumor.
Some Career Highlights
So far, Reilly has won three ATP titles (the New York Open in 2019, the Delray Beach Open in 2020, and the Dallas Open in 2022).
Although he is still young in his career, Reilly has already made some waves. He faced off against John Isner, and the two of them had a 46-point tiebreaker in their second set. This is the longest-ever tiebreak at the ATP Tour level.
That wasn’t Isner’s first time in a long rodeo—he spent three days battling Nicolas Mahut in 2010. They played each other for 11 hours and 5 minutes over three days, clocking the longest Wimbledon match ever.
Opelka’s Career Timeline
In 2015, before he turned pro, Opelka won the Junior Wimbledon tournament. In 2016, he struggled with a foot injury, and opened his 2017 by qualifying for the Australian Open. His career really made a leap in 2018 with some strong wins and ended the ATP Challenger Tour ranked No. 99.
The next year, he would go on to win the New York Open, defeating Canadian Brayden Schnur 6-1, 6-7, 7-6. At the end of 2019, he had moved up 63 spots and ranked 36th in the world.
Just before the pandemic began in February 2020, Opelka defeated Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka for his second ATP win. Once play opened up again, Reilly made it to the final of the Cincinnati Masters, which was his first career ATP Tour Masters competition.
In 2021, Reilly made it to the third round of the French Open, which was his best Grand Slam showing to date, and he would continue on to other career bests, including breaking the top-20 rankings, coming in at No. 19 on September 13th, 2021. So far, Reilly has a 78-72 record on the ATP, and at the time of writing, he’s ranked No. 20.
Height – 6 ft 11 inch (2.11 meters)
Standing at nearly seven feet, Opelka ties the record as the tallest player on the ATP. He’s able to leverage his height and power to send serves across the net at over 140 miles per hour with stunning regularity.
He’s still young in his professional career, but he shares the height record with Ivo Karlovic, who also stands just an inch shy of seven feet tall. This Croatian player is over 40 years old and has put together an impressive career, using his height to his advantage and serving more aces than anyone else on the ATP.
Opelka also stands only one inch taller than John Isner, so their face-off at the Dallas Open was a 46-round tiebreaker battle of the giants.
Weight – 225 pounds
Opelka has a lean physique that is typical of tennis players, and he is listed as being within four pounds of Ivo Karlovic. The Croatian is listed as playing at 229 to Opelka’s 225.
Contrasting Opelka to the shortest tennis player in the top 50, Diego Schwartzman, shows an almost comical mismatch. Schwartzman is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 143 pounds. That means he’s 1 foot, 4 inches shorter than Olpeka and 82 pounds lighter than him.
The two played each other in the Cincinnati Masters in 2020, with Opelka defeating Schwartzman in the round of 32.
Opelka was born in 1997 and turned pro in 2015 at the age of 18. As mentioned before, he likely has quite a bit of time left as a professional tennis player if he can stave off any serious injuries.
John Isner is 36 years old, and Ivo Karlovic is 42. Serena Williams is still active at 40 years old, and Opelka’s friend and mentor Venus Williams is 41. Fans of the game could be watching this tall player make strides on the court for years to come.
Although Opelka is somewhat of a celebrity and is certainly outspoken online, he seems to respect his family’s privacy. His parents, George and Lynne, are some of his biggest supporters, and he does have a younger sister named Brenna.
Reilly Opelka is certainly someone to watch on the ATP. His criticism of the game may be a breath of fresh air to some and turn others against him. No matter which, Reilly Opelka is hard to miss, towering head, shoulders, and beard over many players and fans.