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Reilly Opelka blasts $10,000 fine for unapproved bag as a ‘joke’

Sep 4, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Reilly Opelka of the United States hits a forehand against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia (not pictured) on day six of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Reilly Opelka of the United States hits a forehand against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia (not pictured) on day six of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Reilly Opelka was none too pleased to be fined $10,000 for bringing an unapproved tennis bag onto the court before his second-round match at the U.S. Open last Thursday, calling it a “joke.”

Opelka carried in a pink bag with a custom logo with the name of an art gallery in Belgium.

“The head referee was telling me you should have come in and had this thing measured,” he said. “The ref just told me — I mean, I actually thought it was a different bag. 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.”

He added it was not his job to measure a logo on his bag.

“My job is to win matches. I have bigger things to worry about,” Opelka said. “For the referee to tell me it’s my job to measure a logo, no, clearly not. It’s his job. I’m trying to beat (Nikoloz) Basilashvili and make the round of 16 of a Grand Slam.”

Opelka indeed accomplished that goal, topping his Georgian opponent in the third round Saturday 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-4. It marks the furthest the 24-year-old has advanced in a Grand Slam in his young career.

Opelka, ranked No. 24 in the world, is one of three American men to have reached the Round of 16 in New York this year, along with Frances Tiafoe and Jenson Brooksby. He will meet South African Lloyd Harris on Monday with a quarterfinal berth on the line.

“I snapped a racquet over my knee (once), didn’t get fined a dollar,” Opelka added. “And you bring a pink bag and got fined 10 grand? What a joke.”

–Field Level Media