By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – Reilly Opelka of Delray Beach (No. 39), standing 6 foot 11 inches tall and 225 lbs, won the first professional tennis match in the United States since sporting events were stopped due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Opelka defeated Miomir Kecmanovic 3-1 to become the UTR Pro Match Series champion.
The Tennis Channel and UTR set up the event on an undisclosed private tennis court in West Palm Beach. The four-player UTR Pro Match Series event kicked off Friday, and Opelka beat Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic (No. 47), as well as Hubert Hurkacz of Poland (No. 29) and Boca Raton’s Tommy Paul (No. 57 on the ATP World tour) at the tournament.
Opelka said in an interview after the match, “It was a long day today. I only trained for an hour, maybe one and a half before that. My sore muscles are tidy – and I have to say I like them. I haven’t felt so tired in a long time.”
Opelka moved from Michigan to Palm Coast, Florida at age four. He didn’t start playing tennis regularly until he began training through USTA in Boca Raton at seventeen years old. At the 2019 Australian Open, Opelka won a big upset when he defeated John Isner in the first round. This was the second Top ten win of his career.
Regarding the shut-down, he player told TennisWorld that off the court, both he and Paul, who are staying together in Delray Beach, had put on weight during the shutdown. “I weighed in at a personal record-breaking 240 pounds. The diet changed a few times.”
He admitted, “I don’t know if you’re familiar with Wawa, but I was having some 12AM, 12:30 AM runs for an Oreo milkshake. […] Once I saw the 240, I started to cut back on the milkshakes and Lucky Charms.”