American tennis player Reilly Opelka who was once fined at the US Open for carrying an unapproved bag bearing the name of his art gallery sponsor, revealed that his involvement in art and fashion made him "despise some things" about tennis, a traditional sport.
Opelka touched on how he has "come to hate tradition" in an interview with GQ during his first appearance at Paris Fashion Week.
"I’ve come to hate tradition." revealed Opelka. "And, obviously, tennis is all tradition. Look at Wimbledon—that’s what it is. And it’s not for me. The more I’ve gotten into fashion and art, the more I’ve come to despise some things about tennis."
In last year's edition of the US Open, Opelka brought out to court a pink tote bag from his sponsor, Tim van Laere Gallery, whose logo exceeded the size limit as per tournament rules. This earned Opelka a $10,000 fine.
Opelka also noted how players wear the same kits in tournaments, thus depriving them of their uniqueness.
"The kits themselves, they’re all the same colors, they’re all so similar," he told GQ. "Every brand does their photoshoots at Indian Wells, so the vibe is the exact same. There’s nothing unique about it anymore, and it’s sad."
Asked why tennis does not turn its "tunnel walks into mini fashion shows" like the NBA does, Opelka explained that the business structure of tennis cultivates a "conservative culture" which in turn makes everyone scared to be different.
"We’re a solo sport," added the 25-year old. "Anything goes wrong with us, there’s a direct effect. So I think the way the business structure of tennis is set up breeds a sort of conservative culture, where everyone’s so scared to be different."