Fashion Court: Reilly Opelka Explains Why A Clear Identity Is Key In Fashion & Tennis | ATP Tour

Reilly Opelka puts in a lot of work to perfect his game, which helped him to a career-high No. 23 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, earlier this month. However, it is far more likely that you will find the 24-year old discussing off court fashionIt is more than tennis.

Ahead of the US Open — and New York Fashion Week (8-12 September) — ATPTour.com spoke to the American about his fashionHis inspirations, his time with a designer earlier in the year and why it is important to have a clear identity in both fashionTennis and volleyball

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Who is your biggest? fashionInfluence
People I look up are or were involved in the sport. Venus Williams is someone I look up too. She’s been a great mentor-figure for me. I’ve learned a lot from her. John Isner, he’s been similar. Only good people, really nice people.

If you’re going out for a night with friends, what’s your go-to outfit?
I tend to wear a lot more all-black most of the time. It all depends on the occasion. I wear a lot of Rick Owens and it’s just all solids, there aren’t many prints. There’s a girl Paria Farzaneh, who I’m a really big fan of right now. I love her brand, it’s perfect for Florida because it’s all nylon and it’s technical fabric. When it starts pouring, a lot of her stuff is waterproof and almost built for Florida, but she’s from London. It makes perfect sense, it rains a lot in London. I’m really high on her right now.

She’s someone you can say I look up to outside of tennis. She won the LVMH Award. This is the equivalent to winning Next Gen ATP Finals. It means you’re legit, and she’s done it on her own, which is so rare. She and two to three other members of her team make everything she does. She’s really cool and a total badass. I like her philosophy.

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We hung out in London before Wimbledon and I’m super high on her. I like her brand and how she lives it. It’s people like that who I look up to outside of tennis. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from her and was stoked to hang out with her and see how she goes about her business and her thoughts on the fashion industry.

We’re kind of on the same page with things, but she’s very futuristic thinking with wanting everything to be timeless. She wants all her pieces to be passed down and everything has a purpose, it’s not just to look good.

How did she come to your attention?
Fashion Week is something that I follow. She held a great show in Paris two years ago. Then I started following her brand and we just got in touch. We were able to meet up in London this year for the first-ever time.

She took me to Brockley, the place she is from. I was able leave the bubble between tournaments, which was great. She took me around her little Brockley, South London, town. [Paria] and her boyfriend — who is a photographer and a really nice guy — came to all my matches at Queen’s Club, they came to Wimbledon. They brought along some friends and made it a lot of fun. They showed me their home and made me feel at ease.

I honestly can’t wait to go back and hang out and explore some more with them. It really left a mark on me, I don’t even know if she realises it. We only hung out for one day, but I was impressed with her manner of doing things.

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Opelka wore a pink tie dye shirt earlier in the year. Photo Credit: Casey Sykes/Getty Images
It is so nice to get to know people from these different industries.
Her brand was a favourite of mine. I didn’t know what to expect out of her. But I didn’t know she was going to be that cool. She is a badass, that’s how I’d say it. She clearly knows what her brand is. She’s so certain on what she likes and that resonated well with me.

It’s similar to tennis in some ways. It’s just having a clear identity for how you want to be as a tennis player, how you want to go about your matches and practices. You can find some correlation and I think that’s pretty special. 

Find out more about Opelka
Opelka’s Fashion & A New York State Of Mind
Why Opelka ‘Has the Potential to Move The Needle’

What’s the biggest fashion mistake you’ve made?
Now things I buy are much more timeless and they’re less trendy. Trendy things are often quickly out of fashion. It defeats the purpose.

Sustainable fashionEveryone tries to promote it now… Everyone must claim it now to be in fashionThey have to claim that they are sustainable. They’re making cheesy prints that just aren’t timeless. They’re going to be outdated in two months. You only wear one piece of clothing so any clothing you buy goes to waste. When I’m buying, I’m always looking to see if I can make sure I can wear it in 10, 15 years.

I’m an all-black guy. I wear all-black.

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What’s something you’d never wear?
I don’t like leather too much on jackets. I’m not a big leather jacket guy. That’s definitely a no-go for me. Balenciaga shoes, which are worn by a lot of people, are also big. Off-White is also a good choice. I’ll never wear Off-White, it’s a little cringy to me. Philipp Plein is very cringy and will never wear it. These are my top two no-goes.

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