Sept. 10, 2010
Entering his senior season at Tennessee, John-Patrick Smith has returned to the top of the ITA national singles rankings, which were released Friday.
Already one of the most decorated players in program history, Smith finished 41-9 in singles as a junior and was ranked No. 1 in the national rankings through most of April and May, ending last season at No. 2. He is a three-time All-America and has the opportunity to become the Vols' first four-time winner this season.
Smith, a native of Townsville, Australia, is joined in the ITA's top 125 by Tennessee's in-state sophomore duo: Rhyne Williams at No. 21 and Tennys Sandgren at No. 83. In doubles, Smith and Williams are ranked seventh nationally, although they have never played a collegiate match together.
Williams, a Knoxville native, finished with a 41-7 record and SEC Freshman of the Year honors. He reached the singles round of 16 in the NCAA Championships and earned All-America honors. The No. 21 ranking is one better than his career high; he was ranked 22nd in the January 2010 rankings.
Sandgren, from Gallatin, joined the Vols in January and compiled a 23-5 record during that time. Friday's No. 83 ranking is also his career high. His previous best was No. 105.
Senior Boris Conkic, who has been ranked in the top 50 most of his career, has taken the fall semester off and is therefore, not ranked. Conkic was ranked as high as No. 20 last season and will rejoin the team in January.
Smith has always had success in doubles, no matter the playing partner. He and Davey Sandgren finished their playing time together with 80 victories, including a school-record 41 in 2010. Smith has 110 career doubles victories and is 21 wins away from tying Bryon Talbot's program record of 131. As a freshman, Smith played No. 1 in the doubles lineup with fellow Australian, Kaden Hensel, and the two earned All-America doubles honors.
Smith also picked up five wins with Conkic en route to a title at the ITA All-American and finished 46-9 in doubles last year. Williams, who played a majority of his matches with Conkic last season, finished 36-6.
All-American Championships Participants Released
The ITA also released its participant list for the ITA All-American Championships on Friday. Including prequalifying and qualifying, the full tournament runs from Oct. 2-10 in Tulsa, Okla.
Smith became just the third player to ever win the singles and doubles titles at the All-American last season and is the No. 1 seed in the singles draw. Williams also qualified for main draw singles and will team up with Smith in doubles. Smith and Conkic won the doubles title in 2009.
Tennys Sandgren is in singles qualifying, and senior Matteo Fago is an alternate for qualifying. The two are also listed as alternates for doubles qualifying. Fago and Sandgren played six matches together and were briefly ranked 42nd nationally.
No. 7 - John-Patrick Smith/Rhyne Williams