US star wants tennis to scrap doubles in huge reform of tradition

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The tennis world has been given food for thought following a striking comment made by Reilly Opelka. The big-serving American claimed that if he was in charge of the game, he would scrap the format of doubles.

He is no stranger to speaking his mind having offered some interesting opinions on social media in the past, but the latest statement from the 25-year-old will certainly create a huge debate in the tennis world.

In a very blunt and straightforward comment made during an Instagram Q&A session on what he would change in tennis, Opelka said: “Get rid of doubles, only time people watch are when it’s singles players or the Bryan bros.” For over century ago, doubles has been played alongside singles and is a crucial component of tennis.

This format is the only instance in which players can work as a team in what is primarily an individual sport. However, singles tennis does tend to attract a higher viewership than doubles and prominent singles stars participating in the two-person event have previously increased the format’s viewing figures.

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At the 2022 US Open, America’s ESPN2 broadcast what may have been Serena and Venus Williams’ final doubles match together when they played Czech pair Linda Nosková and Lucie Hradecká. The prime-time broadcast including the doubles match was reportedly the third most-watched third-round telecast ever on ESPN networks.

The channel’s entire coverage averaged 1.5 million viewers, up 131% from the same night at the tournament a year prior, while the Williams Sisters’ match alone averaged 2.2 million. Opelka has won a solitary doubles trophy throughout his career, which took place in 2021 when he took the title alongside Italy’s Jannik Sinner in Atlanta.

The tennis star is currently on the sidelines having not played since last August after undergoing hip surgery. He was forced to withdraw from the ongoing Indian Wells Masters a year after pushing Rafael Nadal in a tight fourth round match which he lost on two tiebreaks.

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It is currently unknown when he is due to make a return, but ealier this month he posted a picture of his sponsor Fila’s newest line on social media. While expressing his disappointment at not wearing the outfit this year, he hoped to return to tennis very soon.

“Wishing I could be rocking @filatennis Tie Breaker collection in the desert this year, but hoping to see you all on court soon”, Opelka captioned the post.”

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