Early summer is here in London. The temperature is high, and the sun is out. British people are baking. Meanwhile, there are reminders of the most famous tennis competition in the world everywhere you turn. A large tennis ball is depicted next to a bowl with strawberries and cream, a Wimbledon classic, in front of Ralph Lauren’s flagship store on New Bond Street.
Serena Williams, Rafa Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are just a few tennis players whose portraits can be seen on billboards that line the humid London Underground. Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace, the residence of a Queen who decided to celebrate her 70th year on the throne, are all visible from the Wimbledon Pod, which is available on the London Eye. This enormous observation wheel is one of the most well-known landmarks in the English capital.
The second-ranked American male tennis player in the world and co-tallest tennis player of history (6 ft 11 inches, if you need to know), Reilly Opelka, has other things to see. Paintings, rather than points, are what devour Opelka as The Red Bulletin follows him around the Phillips offices in London’s Berkeley Square, one of the most prominent auction houses in the world.
His love for the arts is as evident as it is for his primary tennis shot. Opelka can rattle off information about the gallery’s painters as quickly as he can produce on-court aces with just a service that often tops 140 mph. His familiarity with artists like Cy Twombly, the son of a Chicago White Sox pitcher who built his name and wealth in Rome, is almost encyclopedic.
The bulk of athletes is known for having a one-dimensional personality. But the big hitter, a 25-year-old native of Michigan, is not one of them. He replies that he doesn’t know if he should call this a guilty passion, but he adores art. He still recalls the first item he purchased. It was one of those moments you can never forget.
Opelka calculates that he stays in his Florida house, which now serves as his gallery, for fewer than 100 days each year. He is on the road the great bulk of the time. For those who enjoy art, visiting museums and galleries to view the pieces by their favorite artists is an essential part of the enjoyment.
However, world Ranking. 17 Reilly Opelka is going further by bringing his favorite singer to watch his performances somewhere at BNP Paribas Open from the front row. In the lead-up to Indian Wells, the worldwide No. 17 has been in excellent form, making back-to-back final appearances in Dallas (where he won his third ATP prize) and Delray Beach. Keen-eyed Opelka supporters soon recognized a Los Angeles-based German visual artist Friedrich Kunath as he made his way down the field.
Kunath watched from the front row on Saturday as Opelka defeated Lorenzo Musetti 6-1, 6-4 to go to the third round of the Indian Wells tournament for the second time. Opelka, known for his passion for fashion and art on tour, also spoke about the influence Kunath had on his experience in the art world.
His acquaintance with the artist, who he said introduced him to specific other favorites like Ben Sledsens & Rinus Van de Velde, helped him make a long-standing admiration for the artist’s work. Opelka met Tim Van Laere through Kunath, whose gallery has become one of the American’s partners. Opelka notably received a $10,000 fine for carrying their gaze pink tote bag onto the court at the US Open.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner & multi-talented artist Venus Williams was also mentioned by the world No. 17 as one of his main artistic influences. In the third round of Monday’s Indian Wells tournament, No. 17 seed Aryna Opelka will face No. 13 seed Denis Shapovalov. He is discussing his thoughts on the Wimbledon championship, which has generated as much controversy as any other match in the tournament’s illustrious 145-year history.
The ATP (the men’s circuit) and WTA (the women’s equivalent) proceeded to deprive the competition of its league points due to its decisions to bar Russian participants from the event. Hence this year, there are no rankings points available for players. Opelka still seems to be the 5-year-old boy who first took up a racquet and hit a tennis ball over the fence, though, despite all of his accomplishments. He plays tennis even though he enjoys the game and the exhilaration that comes from defeating an opponent from across the net. But he won’t let it get to his head, whether he wins or loses. In part since he has so many things to do when he’s not playing basketball