June 24, 2013
The Wimbledon fortnight starts Monday, and 2011 SEC Athlete of the Year John-Patrick Smith is representing the Vols on the grass courts of the All England Club.
To kick off Tennessee's coverage, here's a look at some news and notes on the third Grand Slam of the tennis season.
THIRD SLAM, THIRD PARTNER FOR SMITHGrand Slam appearances in the doubles draw have started to become routine for Smith, who will be playing in his third consecutive main draw appearance in doubles of a Grand Slam.
Obviously a notable singles player while at Tennessee from 2008-11 (he was ranked No. 1 nationally in both singles and doubles), Smith also possessed the remarkable talent to win doubles matches with any partner. He posted a program-record 146 doubles wins and was ranked in the top-10 nationally with four teammates. He was part of the ITA National Doubles Team of the Year twice: with Davey Sandgren in 2009 and Boris Conkic in 2011.
That ability has followed Smith in the professional ranks.
This week he will be playing with his seventh -- and most experienced -- partner of the 2013 season: Paul Hanley. The 35-year-old Aussie has reached the doubles quarterfinals or better at Wimbledon four times in his career, including the semifinals in 2004.
Smith and Hanley's opening-round match against Phillipp Marx and Florin Mergea is scheduled Monday for a court to be announced in the afternoon.
Smith has made significant strides in doubles this year, entering this week at a career-best No. 80 in the world rankings. So far in 2013, he's captured three titles, reached the finals of three other events and has won three ATP-level matches. He played the Australian Open with John Peers and the French Open with Marinko Matosevic, both from Australia.
WILLIAMS' SLAM STREAK ENDSFormer Vol Rhyne Williams' bid for four consecutive Grand Slam singles main draw appearances came to an end in the final round of Wimbledon qualifying last week.
After winning his first two matches in straight sets, Williams lost to American veteran Bobby Reynolds 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in his third match.
The loss ended an impressive streak in Williams' young professional career. The 2011 NCAA singles finalist and Knoxville native had played in the last three Grand Slams. He had qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open, earned the USTA's wild card to the Australian Open in January and then got in as a lucky loser to the first round of the French Open last month.
The grass court season is not quite over for Williams. With his ranking for No. 128, Williams made the main draw cut to play the Hall of Fame Championships next week in Newport, R.I. The tournament is the only grass event in the United States.