Wanted: Big bed for 'close to 7-foot' Opelka

2019-07-03 19:45
Reilly Opelka
Reilly Opelka of The United States celebrates match point in his Mens Singles second round match against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during Day three of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 03, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

London - Reilly Opelka stands officially at 6ft 11in (2.1m), admits he's closer to 7ft and is desperate for a big bed in which to sleep.

The 21-year-old American made the third round at Wimbledon on Wednesday by seeing off three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6.

However, he spent most of his time after his match facing down questions over his height.

After beating the 34-year-old Wawrinka, the 63rd-ranked Opelka conducted a TV interview in the corridors of Court Two where his head almost scraped the ceiling.

But he is glad to be at Wimbledon which at least assures him of a comfortable night's sleep.

In Eastbourne last week, it was a different matter.

When asked if he was able to fit snugly into his seaside hotel bed, he sighed: "Not really."

However, he bristles at the attention his giant frame attracts.

"I have answered this question, like, 150 times. It's the same as it was yesterday, and, I don't know. Close, 6'11", 7'0". Not sure."

He does have one major beef with England.

"Eastbourne didn't have air conditioning, which is shocking. It's like 100 degrees. Every year I come here, and, like, Why is there no AC? 

"They're, like, Oh, it's never hot here. Every year it's over 80 degrees. I'm, like, That's not true."

Opelka had never won a grass court match before this week but now finds himself in the third round where he will face 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic for a place in the second week.

However, he may never have got this far if he had followed his childhood love of basketball and targeted a career in the NBA.

"I wish I was. I regret it every day," he said.

"I enjoy it a lot. It's my favourite sport. I don't play it much any more. When I'm home I shoot every day, I go to the court and play all the time."

Opelka was the boys champion at Wimbledon in 2015 and will have no fears of facing Raonic even if it may not be easy on the eye.

Raonic has fired 46 aces in two rounds while Opelka has unleashed 34.

Only fellow giant Ivo Karlovic is ahead of them with 58 although the 40-year-old Croatian was knocked out by 5ft 8in (1.73m) Thomas Fabbiano on Wednesday.

"I have seen it a few times already playing (Kevin) Anderson, (John) Isner, (Sam) Querrey. There are so many guys now that have similar, similar styles, big guys, big serves," added Opelka.

"Obviously he's been a really good player on grass and he's done well, especially at Wimbledon. 

"He's the favourite, he's had more experience here. Just allows me to play free. You know, trust my game."

Wimbledon results on Wednesday (x denotes seeding):


2nd round

Hubert Hurkacz (POL) bt Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 7-6 (9/7), 6-3

Daniil Medvedev (RUS x11) bt Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

David Goffin (BEL x21) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3

Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR x30) 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-4

Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) bt Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4

Reilly Opelka (USA) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI x22) 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6

Milos Raonic (CAN x15) bt Robin Haase (NED) 7-6 (7/1), 7-5, 7-6 (7/4)

Karen Khachanov (RUS x10) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x23) bt Steve Darcis (BEL) 6-3, 6-2, 4-2 - retired

Benoit Paire (FRA x28) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 - retired

Jirí Vesely (CZE) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4


2nd round

Elina Svitolina (UKR x8) bt Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 5-7, 6-5 - retired

Maria Sakkari (GRE x31) bt Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-4, 6-1

Karolina Muchova (CZE) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-3, 6-4

Anett Kontaveit (EST x20) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 7-5, 6-1

Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE x28) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x3) bt Monica Puig (PUR) 6-0, 6-4

Simona Halep (ROU x7) bt Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-2, 6-0

Zhang Shuai (CHN) bt Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 6-3, 6-2

Dayana Yastremska (UKR) bt Sofia Kenin (USA x27) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3

Viktorija Golubic (SUI) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)

Read more on:    wimbledon 2019  |  tennis


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