Jan. 29, 2013
Former Tennessee tennis star and 2011 SEC Athlete of the Year John-Patrick Smith became the 12th Vol in program history to reach the top 100 in the ATP World Tour Rankings.
An upset win over the eighth-seeds in the first round of the Australian Open with John Peers propelled Smith to No. 98 in this week's ATP Doubles Rankings for the first time.
Eleven other former Tennessee players through the years have cracked the ATP top 100 in either or both singles and doubles, including the Vols' current associate head coach Chris Woodruff, who reached a career high of 29 in singles.
Smith's entry into the doubles top 100 is another step in the latest wave of UT talent to enter the professional ranks.
Smith, Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren, all members of the Vols' 2010 and 2011 SEC Championship teams, are now all ranked in the top 250 in singles and climbing. Williams has already appeared in the main draws of the U.S. Open and Australian Open.
Since starting his professional career in 2011, Smith has won three singles titles - notably the $50,000 Winnetka (Ill.) Challenger last year -- is currently ranked No. 240 in the world singles rankings. In doubles, the wins have come quickly for the Townsville, Australia, native. He has won 10 doubles titles, including five at the Challenger level.
Smith enjoyed one of the most remarkable four-year careers in college tennis history. He became the second player ever to earn All-American honors in singles and doubles all four years of his career. At times he held the No. 1 ranking in singles and doubles.
The Vols won back-to-back SEC regular-season titles during Smith's junior and senior years, and he was voted the SEC Player of the Year both seasons. After his career ended in 2011, he became the first Vol since Peyton Manning in 1997 to be selected the SEC Male Athlete of the Year.
Tennessee Men's Tennis Players to Reach Top 100
Name (Years at UT)
Tracy Delatte (1975-78)
Andy Kohlberg (1978-79)
Michael Fancutt (1979-81, 83)
Mel Purcell (1980)
Mike DePalmer Jr. (1981-82)
Paul Annacone (1982-84)
Shelby Cannon (1985-88)
Byron Talbot (1985-88)
Doug Flach (1990)
Chris Haggard (1992-93)
Chris Woodruff (1992-93)
John-Patrick Smith (2008-11)