Rick Macci Analysis: Reilly Opelka
Aug 23, 2023
Legendary coach Rick Macci has been delivering succinct analyses of the games of several leading pros through in depth interviews with Florida Tennis editor Jim Martz. Macci continues in this post with American male player Reilly Opelka.
First off, one of my all-time favorites. Sometimes when we have special outings here for the kids at the park, what a great human being. A lot of gratitude. He'll show up, sign autographs, take pictures, for free.
And I think tennis is a microcosm of life. Just a great person to do things like that and inspire youth.
But since this is Florida Tennis and we're talking about tennis -- one of the best serves in the history of tennis. I can remember working with him a little bit back in the day when he was 12, 13, 14. I said you'll have one of the best serves in men's tennis some day, you're probably going to be 6-foot-6. I was wrong, he's 7-feet tall!
But listen, you've still got to hit it in. Biomechanically, the way he uses the ground where the racquet is on the hitting side just like Roddick his serve is put together amazing. With that fast serve he's a contender, not a pretender, in every match.
The problem is, he still has to figure out how he's going to play. I wish he'd come in more. I wish he'd take second serves and come in more. It's easy to Monday morning quarterback, but for a guy 7-feet tall he has great groundstrokes.
Believe it or not, he moves really well for 7-feet tall. He's going to be top 10.
He's been injured. He'll get back in the mix. With a serve like that you're a threat to beat anybody, anytime, anywhere, because it's hard to be broken.
The problem is, people know if they hang in with you, you're playing tiebreakers against guys 50, 60, 70 in the world.
But I love Reilly's game. When he gets off his injury and comes back he's going to be there with all the other Americans.
It's looking great for American tennis. They're contenders, not pretenders. And they expect to win tournaments. They know, Jim, they can win Grand Slams.
That's a big difference than knowing I hope to get to the round of 16. I don't have to play Federer or Nadal or Joker or Rafa. You're not going to beat those guys with that experience.
Reilly's not going anywhere. When he gets back on track, don't count out the gentle giant, because he has one of the best serves on planet Earth and he's on his way back.
Interview with Rick Macci by Florida Tennis' Founder and Editor Jim Martz. Photos: Keith Allison (CC BY-SA 2.0); @ArtSeitz. This article also appears in the July-August 2023 issue of Florida Tennis Magazine. Be sure to subscribe for expanded coverage, exclusive interviews, and in-depth tennis news.