© Nicole Pereira/USTA

Reilly Opelka will face World No. 74 Soonwoo Kwon in his first round match at the US Open.

Opelka 'Optimistic' For More Success At US Open

The big-serving American reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto this month

Reilly Opelka has been working hard on being mentally tougher in the past few months as he prepares for his third appearance at the US Open.

The 24-year-old American attributes the development of his mentality as the main reason for his success this season. Opelka reached the semi-finals in Rome in May and enjoyed a run to the final in Toronto, where only World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev could stop him.

"I turned things around [in Toronto]... I beat [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, played a great final against Medvedev [in a] Masters 1000 final, my best result yet,” Opelka said in his pre-tournament press conference. “I think just having an optimistic mindset is so critical.

“The sport is already as tough as it is. If you're not optimistic, it's hard to get through those moments. Not saying I'm going to get through them every time now, but it just shows what getting through one moment like that can do."

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Despite the deep runs in Rome and Toronto, Opelka is not getting complacent with his recent success. The American's most successful performance in a major is reaching the third round at Wimbledon in 2019 and Roland Garros this year. Opelka, who begins against World No. 74 Soonwoo Kwon, feels he has plenty to work on before making a deeper run at a major.

"I've grown a lot in the last year. It doesn't mean that I'm not expecting to showcase it all in one week. The season's long. The way the sport works, we're 40 weeks pretty much," Opelka said. "I would love to carry my momentum through this week. But everyone's tough here.

“There's no such thing as a good draw anymore. I think it's been that way probably for the past 10, 15 years. Maybe in the past, you would see some first rounds that weren't so close. Now anyone can beat anyone."

On his mental development, Opelka said he had developed this in the past year, while there we no crowds. Nevertheless, the second highest-ranked American, after John Isner, will be looking forward to having fans supporting him once again next week in New York.

"It definitely changes things,” Opelka added. “I prefer it [playing with fans], but I've gotten used to playing without them. I think I got to really work on my mindset in that time.

"Having fans back is a total delight. It's a treat. We've learned that. Especially New Yorkers. What better fans to have for our first 100 per cent capacity than the local New York crowd? That's what makes the US Open the US Open.

"That's what makes sport in New York so iconic. That's why the Yankees are a legendary team, the Knicks as well. It's the fan, the fan base, the culture of New York, New Yorkers."

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