Tommy Paul reveals Reilly Opelka’s contribution in brilliant Australian Open run

The American revealed the advice and help he received behind the scenes from his countryman during his surprising run to the semifinals

Tommy Paul reveals Reilly Opelka’s contribution in brilliant Australian Open run

Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul

Tommy Paul surprised the world by playing his way to the 2023 Australian Open semifinals. Paul has revealed that he received the help of an old friend in his unbelievable run in Melbourne. 25-year-old American player Reilly Opelka gave Paul advice on every opponent he faced in Melbourne Park on his way to the last four.

Opelka has not played since August 2022 due to an injury. It has given him more time to analyse other players on the circuit. And he shared his knowledge with Paul. Paul revealed, “When the Australian Open started, I was texting Reilly about the players I was going to face and he was giving me sighting reports. Every morning when I woke up for a game, he would send me a long paragraph about what to do against the player I was going to face.”

It must have been special for Opelka to see a fellow American get so far at a Grand Slam. But helping a childhood friend and seeing him deliver must have been even more exhilarating. Opelka and Paul have been friends for years. The pair met when they started training together at 13 at the USTA base in Florida. They lived together with Taylor Fritz, and the three naturally grew close.

They rose together in tennis, competing in the ITF juniors circuits. The three now travel the ATP Tour together and remain close. Paul’s revelation shows they don’t hesitate to help their friends. And when it gets someone to the last four of a Grand Slam tournament, it’s undoubtedly some great help.

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Tommy Paul’s brilliant run at the Australian Open

Tommy Paul at the Australian Open
Tommy Paul at the Australian Open

Paul surprised the tennis world with his run in Melbourne. He entered the tournament unseeded. American No.1 Taylor Fritz was expected to be the one to go furthest at the tournament.

But Tommy Paul displayed consistency and grit to get over every challenge. He started with a straight-sets win over Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round. He then came out on top in a five-setter against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Paul bested fellow American Jenson Brooksby in the third round. He then caused a surprise when he defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round to get to the quarterfinals.

Paul then beat another surprise quarterfinalist in Ben Shelton to become the first American since 2009 to reach an Australian Open singles semifinal. He faced Novak Djokovic at that stage. Paul was unable to beat Djokovic as the Serbian won in straight sets. But Paul pushed him and gave a good account of himself.

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