Nov. 23, 2009
A Tennessee sweep of the singles and doubles titles at the ITA All-American Championships highlighted a successful fall season for the Volunteers.
Junior John-Patrick Smith, the Vols' top returner, played true to All-America form and led the team with a 16-3 record in both singles and doubles. The Vols won seven individual titles during the fall, and not surprisingly, Smith played a part in four of those tournament wins.
Smith played a combined six matches over two days in October on his way to becoming the first singles All-American champion in UT history. Three hours after the individual championship, he and junior Boris Conkic teamed up to win the doubles title.
Winning both titles is not an everyday occurrence at the national event. Smith and Conkic were the first since 1998 to win both singles and doubles in the All-American.
Smith also won the first flight of singles at the UVa Ranked Plus One Invitational in September. He and senior Davey Sandgren, the top-ranked pair in the country, won the doubles championship.
Sandgren and Smith played in four events together, winning one tournament and reaching the finals in two more with a team-leading 11-3 record. One of their runner-up finishes came in the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships at the expense of a fellow Vols team: Conkic and freshman Rhyne Williams.
Conkic and Williams quickly developed into a successful doubles pair as well, finishing the fall 9-2. They were second at the UVa Invitational in their first tournament together and ended with a semifinal appearance at the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships.
Smith also reached the semifinals of the Indoor Championships in singles to wrap up his fall. He defeated 8 of 9 ranked opponents he faced, with two victories over top-10 opponents.
Williams, a Knoxville native, was the only player besides Smith to win a singles event by defeating junior teammate Matteo Fago in the finals of the Georgia Tech Fall Tournament.
Smith entered the season nationally-ranked No. 2 in singles in the ITA preseason rankings. He and Sandgren had the No. 1 ranking in doubles, the same position they were in when they finished the 2009 season. Conkic was ranked No. 20, and Fago was No. 114.
The ITA rankings will not be released again until Jan. 5. The first team national rankings of the season will be available then. The Vols finished 2009 with a 23-7 record and concluded the year eighth nationally.
Moving Up the Charts
With 16 wins in the fall, Smith improved his career total to 85 wins, which is good for 12th on UT's career list. Expect in the first few weeks for the season for him to become the first first Vol in eight seasons to enter the career top 10. Chris Mahony (1993-96) is 10th with 90 wins, and Paul Podbury (1998-2001) is ninth with 91 victories.
Sandgren, now in his fourth year on the Vols, is second on the team with 72 wins, Conkic is third with 63 wins.
Sandgren and Smith need just three wins to move alone into fourth on the career doubles list.
A Look Ahead
The Vols play two more individual tournaments, the SEC Coaches' Indoor Championships and the Sherwood Cup, both beginning Jan. 15.
The dual match season kicks of Jan. 23 with a doubleheader at Goodfriend Tennis Center against East Tennessee State and Chattanooga. The Vols have 14 home matches on the schedule.
John-Patrick Smith 16-3
Rhyne Williams, 13-3
Max Stevens, 11-9
Edward Jones, 10-8
Matteo Fago, 9-4
Matt Brewer, 8-5
Boris Conkic, 6-4
Davey Sandgren, 6-6
Taylor Patrick, 5-7
Bryan Swartz, 5-8
Doubles Teams Leaders