Austin Smith hit the ground running this fall, advancing to the final of last weekend’s SEC Fall Classic.
The sophomore spent his summer getting into better shape, shedding a few pounds, and working on his footwork, which contributed to his run in last weekend’s tournament, Georgia men’s tennis coach Manuel Diaz said.
“He’s always been very gifted and he’s always hit a pro-type ball,” Diaz said. “He’s always had great shots, but his mobility needed to get a little bit better and his endurance needed to get a little bit better.”
Smith compiled a 17-7 record during his first dual season with the Georgia men’s tennis team, playing at the third, fourth and fifth singles spots for the Bulldogs.
Diaz said Smith has to continue on the path he’s walked since the spring if he wants to surge up the Bulldogs’ spring lineup.
“Now, he’s become a much better defensive player as well as he’s become a lot better in transition and finishing more points at the net,” Diaz said. “Adding little components to his game has been a huge part of his success lately here as well as his fitness.”
So far so good.
Smith and the rest of the Bulldogs will see if they put in enough work during the offseason when they travel to Los Angeles for the All-American Championships, which begin Saturday and run through Oct. 6.
“I think everybody will be there — all the top players will be there nationally,” Diaz said. “I think it would give us as coaches and them as players just a good idea of where we are, where we stack up and what we need to do to get better. Our guys are ready to be tested. I think they’re practicing hard to be at their best. Hopefully, we’ll have a good showing.”