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John-Patrick Smith: “I like to hit targets and challenge myself” | 5 May, 2023 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

John-Patrick Smith: “I like to hit targets and challenge myself” | 5 May, 2023 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

In our ‘Training Tips’ series, Australian player John-Patrick Smith explains why an upbeat attitude and ability to have fun is important on the practice court.

Melbourne, Australia, 5 May 2023 | Leigh Rogers

John-Patrick Smith has soared to great heights in his career, achieving career-high rankings of world No.108 in singles and world No.52 in doubles.

The enduring 34-year-old from Townsville has also contested 12 consecutive Australian Opens, with a mixed doubles final appearance in 2019 providing a major career highlight.

Doubles is now Smith’s priority. The world No.102, whose season highlights include reaching an ATP Challenger final in Canberra and an ATP semifinal at Delray Beach, provides an insight into his practice habits in our Training Tips series …

What is your favourite time of the day to practice?

To be honest, I’d say mid-morning. It gives you enough time to scramble if you need to get anything done in the morning.

How many hours, on average, do you practice a week?

It depends on whether it is in-tournament or out of a tournament. In-tournament, it is kind of tricky and depends on the schedule and when I’m playing. When I’m not at a tournament, I try to get in some good long on-court sessions to build up a bit of endurance.

Do you like to space out your training sessions, both on and off court, during the day?

I like to get it all done in one hit, that way it frees up the afternoon. There is always something else that pops up. So I try, if possible, to get a hit in then go straight into the gym, so then I’m done for the day.

What is the favourite part of your game to practice?

Serving. I know that if I can serve well in matches, then they tend to be a little bit easier, which is why I like to focus on improving my serve. I like to hit targets and challenge myself to hit as many spots as I can.

Do you focus primarily on your first serve? Or do you also practice your second serve?

I do like practicing my first serve. But you do also need to work on your second serve, in case there are any big moments when you need to step up and hit some good ones. So, I try to make sure I do work on both.

What do you enjoy least about practice?

I don’t like sharing a court. When there are four players on a court, everyone has their own agendas, and that makes it a little tougher.

What do you look for in a practice partner?

It’s always good to practice with someone who is upbeat and brings good morale….

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