May 14, 2010
John-Patrick Smith has fielded his share of interviews and questions about tennis this season, and for good reason.
The junior from Townsville, Australia, is the Vols' first No. 1-ranked singles player in 17 years. He enters the NCAA Championships with a 38-6 record in both singles and doubles. A few weeks ago, he earned SEC Player of the Year honors, and on Thursday, he was the ITA Ohio Valley Region Arthur Ashe Award winner.
This week's Q&A is a little bit different because, well, it has almost nothing to do with tennis. Here are the answers to all the questions you never once considered asking:
Q: So, let's get started: super strength, super speed or super brains? Which super power would be most useful for tennis?
A: Probably go super strength, mainly because strength looks good and it beats all. Strength beats all.
Q: If you could have any super power, which one would it be?
A: Definitely invisibility. I'd love to sneak up on people and play jokes them or whatever. Maybe scare them. (pause) Are you going to grant these wishes?
Q: Sadly, no. Athletic abilities aside, if you could play another sport at UT, which one would you choose?
A: I'm going to say football. Just for the atmosphere, a 100,000 people in the stadium. It'd be great to run out in the "T" at the beginning of the game. I think I'd play anything on the offense. I don't want to be the quarterback because it seems like there'd be a lot of pressure. Probably a receiver.
Q: I asked Boris this earlier in the season, so I'll ask you: are you left-handed in everything?
A: Yes, I am. My brother's left-handed -- well, he's kind of ambidextrous. So's my dad. My mom's right-handed. But I was playing cricket though, I was batting right-handed for a while. I started batting left-handed and I think I got a better feel for it because I did everything else left-handed.
Q: Do you or ever have you owned a pet?
A: No pets. I wanted to own a dog when I was older. Davey's had pets though, so it's basically like I have one.
Q: As you can see, these questions have nothing to do with each other. Outside of sports, what would be your dream job?
A: I'd have to say a TV broadcaster or commentator.
Q: For tennis?
A: Well, for anything I'd sound knowledgeable about. I just like hearing what people say. Some of the commentators out there are pretty good. The guy who used to coach Tampa Bay, John Gruden, is funny. I like listening to him.
Q: What is the last book you read for fun?
A: For fun?
Q: Yeah, so you can't say your textbook from last semester -- unless that was fun.
A: Oh man. It's a tough question. I think it was Harry Potter No. 4 ages ago when it first came out. Probably in high school. A lot of people in my school were reading it at the time, so I thought I'd keep up.
Q: You've traveled all over the world playing tennis and whatnot. What's the weirdest food you've ever eaten?
A: I had these Malaysian spring rolls. It wasn't really even like a spring roll because it didn't have a hard case. It was a soft case with a bunch of oil jammed in it. Ugh, it makes me sick just thinking about it again. There was some meat and vegetables in it too. Weirdest thing I've ever eaten. I just cut into it and it all sorta oozed out.
It was at a banquet, so there were no other choices.
Q: Okay, say you're on this deserted island. Actually, it's an almost deserted island because there's a restaurant there but no connection to the outside world. Which restaurant?
A: Big fan of McAlister's. Lots of variety on the menu, so will go with that. Plus, I can't think of anything else right now.
Q: The island also has a plasma TV with only one TV show. No one knows why. Which show would you choose?
A: As long as they keep making new episodes of South Park, I could watch that show continuously. That'd help me keep some sanity while I was out there.
Q: In an informal team poll, a lot of guys have said you're the fastest one on the team. Is that right?
A: In some events. Not sprinting. I'm not that fast. Anything over four miles or so, I'd win. Anything between that, there's a lot of competition. I think everyone else stops after four miles.
Q: If the tennis team formed a band, who would be the lead singer?
A: Well, it wouldn't be Davey, because we'd need someone presentable. I would say Matteo. If he had long hair like he used to, he could throw it around and then suit up too. Yeah, it'd be him.
Q: Who on the team would be most likely to have a book, movie or TV show based on his life?
A: Matt Brewer, for sure.
Q: And would you buy this product? This book/movie/TV show?
A: I'd buy it for sure. And I'd recommend it. Promote it, if I could. It'd be a bestseller.
Q: Outside any of the questions that have been asked in the last five minutes, what's the strangest question you've ever been asked in an interview?
A: It was `Do they speak Australian in Australia?' That's an odd one. I just said `Yes.' It didn't hit me `til I walked away. Was he serious? I don't know.