America’s second-ranked tennis player, Reilly Opelka, has hit out at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) after he received a fine for carrying an unapproved bag onto the court.
Opelka, the world No 24 ranked just two spots below top-ranked American John Isner, has called his $10 000 fine by US Open organisers a “joke”.
The USTA had ruled that the bag Opelka took to court during his 7-6 (7/1), 7-5, 6-4 second-round win over Italian Lorenzo Musetti included manufacturer logos that exceeded the approved limit of four square inches.
Opelka, who stands 6ft 11in (2.11m) in his socks, mocked the USTA’s decision decision on Twitter, writing “US Open ticket sales must be struggling this year”.
After beating Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-4 in the third round on Saturday, Opelka told reporters: “I mean, what a joke on the US Open to do that. 10K for a pink bag? Come on.
“The head referee was telling me you should have come in and had this thing measured. We had that logo specifically made. We measured. It is too big. It was not the same bag I was using at the French Open. We made the effort to make it smaller.
“There was a mistake in production, I think, because in Europe with the conversion, with what was allowed. But, yeah, I made the effort. The referee told me that it was too big and that was it. She said to cover one side of it.”
Opelka added that he was not aware of the fine until a journalist commented on it on Twitter.
“I didn’t even find out from them, which is even more comical,” he said, adding that other players have got away with much worse and smaller fines.
“I thought it was a bit harsh, a bit excessive. My job is not to measure logos. My job is to win matches. I have bigger things to worry about.
“I’d love to see (the amount) get donated elsewhere. We’ve had a few tragedies here in the States the last couple weeks. If they are going to take 10K from me, it better not go to a major corporation. That’s my thought.”
Opelka continued mocking the fine by seemingly writing “unapproved” across the bag when he walked out prior to facing Basilashvili.
Opelka’s next match is a round of 16 duel against South Africa’s Lloyd Harris on Monday.
Picture: Reilly Opelka – ATP Tour/Twitter