Last Updated on June 22, 2022
Standing at an impressive 6ft 11 inches tall, Reilly Opelka is matched by just one man in being the tallest ever ATP ranked player of all time. Opelka was born on the 28th of August 1997 in St Joseph Michigan to parents George and Lynne Opelka. At age 4, Reilly and his family moved to Palm Coast in Florida, it was here that his love for tennis took off.
Whilst playing golf, Reilly’s father became good friends with the former ATP Tour champion and U.S. Davis Cup captain Tom Gullikson. Eight years old at the time, Reilly basked in the opportunity to learn from the veteran coach with over three decades of experience. Over the next five years, Gullkison completely reformed Olpelka’s game. Reilly credits this time spent with Gullikson as the most important training of his career. Opelka began his training at USTA in Boca Raton at age 12. He went on to defeat the junior no 1 Taylor Fritz on his way to winning against Mikael Ymer in the 2015 junior Wimbledon final.
Opelka turned pro in 2015 but made his ATP debut in 2016 at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships with his main and overwhelming weapon being his serve. The right-handed (two-handed backhand) can serve in the low-140 mph range. He has since gone on to win 4 titles in New York (2019), Delray Beach (2020) and two in Houston Dallas (2022). He has estimated 3.4-million-dollar career earnings and now ranks no 18 in the ATP men’s singles, with a career-high as World No. 17 in singles by the ATP, which he achieved on February 28th, 2022.
Opelka has already had a vast and impressive career in a relatively small amount of time. He has an incredible 2 world records under his sleeve including his semi-final match in the Dallas Open against John Isner, in February 2022 where he hit 39 aces, the most ever hit in a two-set ATP Tour match. The year 2018 was a breakthrough year for Opelka.
He was the 1st American to win three ATP Challenger titles in one season since Bradley Klahn in 2014. If that wasn’t enough, he also shares with Isner the record for the longest tiebreak, at the ATP Tour level, when he won the second set of their battle 24-22. Undoubtedly his most recognizable asset is his tie with Ivo Karlović for the tallest-ever ATP-ranked player at 6ft 11inches.
It’s not surprising that Opelka has been sponsored by several top brand companies. In 2020, Fila sign Opelka to a clothing and footwear contract. He had a contract with New Balance, an American sports footwear and apparel company, for clothing and footwear. He also has a racquet contract with Wilson. Opelka himself utilizes the Wilson Pro Staff 97 model. He is also a brand ambassador for Red Bull, an Austrian energy drink manufacturer. It’s safe to say Opelka is just getting started and this is a space to watch, there’s a lot more to come from the 6 feet 11 inches tall player.
Reilly Opelka’s Current Coach Is Jay Berger
Behind every great athlete, there’s a team of hardworking individuals including, coaches, nutritionists, physios, and more. Opelka’s current coach is Jay Berger. Born on the 26th of November 1966, in New Jersey, he turned pro in 1986. Prior to becoming a coach, Berger was the USTA Boys’ 18s National Champion in 1985, won the 1985 Florida State Junior Championship, fourth round in the 1985 US Open, and in 1989 he was the quarterfinalist at both the French Open and the US Open. He also won the third tour singles title of his career that year at Charleston, South Carolina to name but a few of his successes. His Career-high came on the 16th of April 1990 when he ranked 7 in singles. Berger eventually retired from his professional career due to a chronic knee injury in 1991. Berger was inducted into the Florida Hall of Fame in 1993.
Berger began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Florida International University. Succeeding this he became the head tennis coach at the University of Miami. He coached Ryan Harrison until Jan-Michael Gambill replaced him in 2014 after which he coached former world number 8 Jack Sock.
Berger was introduced to Opelka through his first coach Gullikson, along with the renowned sports psychologist Jim Loehr. Another member of Olpeka’s team is his much-needed physio, Wolfgang Oswald who incorporates biomechanical motion analysis in stroke and tennis movement analysis. Under Berger’s guidance, Opelka has won several titles including ATP New York Open 2019, Delroy Beach in 2020, and Houston Dallas in 2022.
Reilly Opelka’s Past Coaches:
Tom Gullikson and Diego Moyano are both to be credited for Opelka’s early career. In 2008 Reilly won the first national tennis event he played, the USTA Boys’ 12 National Spring Championships in Delray Beach. One year after the national championship Opelka and Gullikson’s regular practices ended due to Gullikson’s family foundation closure, subsequently Gullikson re-joined the USTA as a full-time coach in Carson, California. Gullikson has remained a guiding hand throughout Opelka’s career. After Gulliksons early coaching Opelka started his training through USTA in Boca Raton at 12 years old.
It was here that he met Diego Moyano. Born on the 14th of March 1975 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, He turned pro in 1997. Moyano reached his top ATP singles ranking of No. 130 in 2000 and top ATP doubles ranking of No. 158 in 2004. Shortly after this in 2005 he sadly had to cease his professional career due to an unfortunate back injury. Moyano went on to coach numerous players in the top 100 ATP rankings including Guillermo Coria, Fernando Gonzalez, Martin Vasallo Arguello, and Opelka’s good friend Taylor Fritz. In 2020 Moyano left USTA and founded Diego Moyano High-Performance Tennis (DMHPT) and started working privately with Kevin Anderson.
|Coach||Years Of Cooperation||Titles|
|Tom Gullikson||2005-2010||2008 Junior Boys National Championship|
|Diego Moyano||2012-2018||2015 Wimbledon Junior tournament, 2015 boy’s doubles Wimbledon Championships|
|Jay Berger||2019-2022||ATP New York Open 2019, Delroy Beach 2020, Houston, Dallas 2022|