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In an interview with Giri Nathan of Racquet Magazine, American Reilly Opelka opened fire with some critical remarks on the ATP Tour.

The 22-year-old World No.39 criticized the ATP, saying that they could not have handled the Coronavirus pandemic “much worse,” and expressing his belief that players have been “left in the dark” by the tour.

“I think they couldn’t have handled it much worse,” Opelka told Nathan. “We’re completely left in the dark, we don’t know what’s going on. And the execs haven’t taken pay cuts.”

Opelka also had harsh words for tennis’ relief fund aspirations, which have asked for contributions from the tour’s top 100 players to fund relief efforts for those that are lower-ranked.

Tennis Express

It’s a policy that has already drawn criticism from Dominic Thiem, who strongly believes that he should not be required to donate to a specific cause. Guido Pella and Matteo Berrettini have also expressed similar sentiments; Opelka agrees with them.

“Players should never pay other players,” he said, adding: “I don’t think, as an ATP exec, you should be supportive of asking your players to pay for other players when you haven’t even taken a pay cut yourself, when us players have taken a 100% pay cut. That’s completely wrong. It’s actually shocking that it hasn’t been addressed more. The PGA execs took pay cuts right away, the WTA, the ITF, the USTA.”

The exact distrubtion of the ATP's player fund has yet to be announced, so it remains a topic of hot debate. And it isn't the only issue that Opelka has strong opinions on. 

Opelka also expressed his frustration with the copious fines he has received for drinking Red Bull on court and wearing sponsorship logos that are too large. He also feels that the tour should be more willing to embrace gambling sponsors and let the players benefit from such deals.

On the tennis side the American said he is currently working hard to improve his return by looking at the techniques of World No.1 and returning whiz Novak Djokovic.

“When returning, he has such good posture, he’s on balance, and that first step is critical,” Opelka told Nathan. “And he does it better than anyone.”