© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Reilly Opelka averages 1.5 aces per service game on hard courts.

Opelka Is Three Times Above Average In This Serving Area

American has averaged two or more aces per service game in eight hard court matches

Players on the ATP Tour average around half an ace per service game on hard courts. Solid numbers.

Reilly Opelka grabs that average by the scruff of the neck and triples it to lead the Tour in untouchable serves.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of ace leaders on hard courts identifies that the 22-year-old American has averaged a head-turning 1.5 aces per service game so far in his emerging career. No player has posted such lofty ace totals since statistics were first recorded in 1991. The data set includes players who have played a minimum of 500 service games on hard courts in their career.

Opelka’s numbers at the Western & Southern Open in New York in August were slightly higher in his first three matches than his daunting average. Opelka retired in the quarter-finals against Stefanos Tsitsipas at 5-6 in the opening set with a right knee injury. Through his first three matches, the 6’11” American was averaging 1.6 aces per service game.

Reilly Opelka: Western & Southern Open Rounds 1-3

Opponent Service Games Aces Average
Cameron Norrie 10 18 1.8
Diego Schwartzman 11 13 1.2
Matteo Berrettini 11 19 1.7
Total 32 50 1.6

There are only 13 players since 1991 that have averaged greater than one ace per service game on hard courts. It’s interesting that this leaderboard is dominated by five Australians.

Rank Player Average Aces
1 Reilly Opelka 1.50
2 Ivo Karlovic 1.46
3 John Isner 1.31
4 Milos Raonic 1.22
5 Joachim Johansson 1.21
6 Wayne Arthurs 1.18
7 Nick Kyrgios 1.16
8 Sam Groth 1.15
9 Chris Guccione 1.15
10 Gilles Muller 1.08
11 Mark Philippoussis 1.05
12 Goran Ivanisevic 1.03
13 Martin Verkerk 1.02

The ATP Tour average for aces per service game is 0.52. Of the Big Three, only Roger Federer (0.63) has averaged more than half an ace per game.

Big Three’s Hard Court Aces Per Service Game

Rank Player Average Aces
1 Roger Federer 0.63
2 Novak Djokovic 0.45
3 Rafael Nadal 0.28

Opelka has played eight matches in his career where he has astonishingly averaged at least two aces per service game in the match. He won six of those eight encounters.

Opelka Averaging 2+ Aces Per Service Game

Rank Year Event Result Score Average Aces
1 2019 New York Open d. Schnur 6-1, 6-7(7), 7-6(7) 2.7
2 2019 Australian Open l. to Fabbiano 7-6(15), 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(5) 2.6
3 2019 New York Open d. Istomin 6-7(8), 7-6(6), 1-0 (RET) 2.5
4 2019 New York Open d. Isner 6-7(8), 7-6(14), 7-6(4) 2.4
5 2019 Swiss Indoors Basel d. Garin 7-6(5), 7-6(10) 2.3
6 2019 Swiss Indoors Basel d. Bautista Agut 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 2.2
7 2020 Adelaide International l. to P. Cuevas 7-5, 6-7(9), 6-7(2) 2.0
8 2020 New York Open d. Nishioka 6-4, 6-4 2.0

Prior to the return of the ATP Tour, former World No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov picked Opelka to win the Western & Southern Open. The American is currently ranked No. 36 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and charging fast. His days of flying under the radar are over. This week he competes at the St. Petersburg Open.

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