Nov. 8, 2011
The trio of Vols who anchored the top half of the Tennessee tennis lineup in 2011 are back for the Knoxville Challenger starting on campus Tuesday evening at Goodfriend Tennis Center.
John-Patrick Smith, Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren received main-draw wild cards in singles and doubles for the annual local tournament, which is the second leg of the final three events on the USTA Pro Circuit calendar.
The three helped lead the Vols to back-to-back SEC regular-season titles in 2010 and 2011 and are now touring professionally.
Williams and Sandgren both start singles play Tuesday in the Knoxville Challenger. Sandgren plays his round of 32 match against seventh-seeded American Michael Yani not before 6 p.m. Williams faces fifth-seeded Vasek Pospisil of Canada later in the evening.
While Smith is not playing singles until Wednesday, he starts doubles play at 6 p.m. Tuesday with fellow former Vol Ben Rogers, a 2005 All-American. They play wild cards Steve Johnson and Austin Krajicek no earlier than 6 p.m.
Johnson is the 2011 NCAA singles champion, and Krajicek won the NCAA doubles crown in May with Texas A&M teammate Jeff Dadamo.
Admission for Tuesday matches is $10.
Former Vol Adam Hubble, who played at UT from 2006-07, is also back in town this week to play doubles. The Australia native will start the tournament with doubles partner Frederik Neilsen on Wednesday.
A LOOK AT THE PRO VOLS IN KNOXVILLE
John-Patrick Smith: Smith, the SEC Athlete of the Year, leads the former Vols in ATP World Tour rankings, having risen to No. 500 after just five months playing on the USTA Pro Circuit. He claimed his first professional singles title in Tulsa, Okla., and was a finalist in back-to-back weeks in October in Austin and Mansfield, Texas.
Rhyne Williams: Williams is not far behind Smith, currently ranked No. 515 following a Futures Tour win in Innisbrook, Fla., and a final appearance in Toronto. He also won a round of qualifying as a wild card in the U.S. Open.
Tennys Sandgren: Sandgren recorded his first pro title victories in back-to-back weeks at the end of July, winning the Futures stops in Godfrey, Ill., and Decatur, Ill. He enters the week ranked No. 542.
Ben Rogers: Rogers has been playing doubles exclusively with Smith since the four-time All-American started the pro circuit in July. Rogers and Smith have since won three Futures titles together and reached a final three weeks ago in Mansfield, Texas. He enters the tournament ranked No. 517 in doubles.
Adam Hubble: Hubble has spent much of the last calendar year recovering from injury, but the doubles specialist has been back on the courts for the last month on the USTA Pro Circuit. He was ranked as high as No. 146 in doubles but because of lost points because of injury, he is currently No. 712.
Goodfriend Tennis Center
Tuesday's matches featuring former Vols
Not Before 6 p.m.
[WC] Tennys Sandgren, USA, vs.  Michael Yani, USA
[WC] John-Patrick Smith, AUS/Ben Rogers, USA, vs. [WC] Steve Johnson, USA/Austin Krajicek, USA
Match to Follow Doubles
[WC] Rhyne Williams, USA, vs.  Vasek Pospisil, CAN