Florida State Men’s tennis has added a new member to the team. Barnaby Smith, a fifth-year from High Wycombe, Great Britain by way of Texas A&M, has been in love with tennis ever since he can remember.
“My dad and sister used to play tennis and my mom used to play for fun,” Smith said. “My sister is six years older than me, so my mom would take me to watch her tournaments when I was a kid. I’d always want to hit balls with my mom. I started being around the tennis court when I was two or three. It’s all I’ve really known.”
Smith’s love for the sport turned into a passion. Before his college career even began Smith was ranked number 60 in the world for his age group. He was able to play in the Australian Open, French Open, and both the US Open and Wimbledon.
When he was 18 Smith moved to Texas to play tennis for Texas A&M University. “It was a big change. I loved Texas,” Smith said with an appreciation for his experience. During his time in Texas, Smith and his teammates advanced to the national quarterfinals, the national semifinals, won the SEC, and Smith was also an All-American.
In 2020, Smith had an 8-8 singles record, along with a 12-5 doubles record. In 2019, he had a 27-8 singles record and a 13-8 singles record in 2018.
During his senior year, Smith injured his left hip which left him in crutches, unable to do any kind of exercise for months. “It was a big low point. I lost a lot of motivation because I didn’t know if I was going to come back and play tennis. I’m just happy to be back out here,” Smith stated.
Despite his injury, his longtime love for the sport never changed. Smith knew he wanted to keep playing and got the opportunity to play for Florida State. When speaking about Florida State, Smith spoke with a tone of pure gratitude.
“I had a really bad injury, I was definitely nervous,” Smith said. “But at the same time very excited. Florida is a great state, FSU is a great school. I love the coaching staff here and the fitness trainer.”
Smith is thankful for his opportunity at Florida State and excited for the upcoming season.
“The main goal for me right now is to play a season healthy. I have a lot of confidence in my ability if I can be healthy. I would love to try to be a two-time All-American. I’d love for the team to do really well and have a shot in the ACC.” Smith stated.
Smith, a Sociology major, hopes to continue his tennis career after college. He hopes to play tennis professionally and then may want to begin a coaching career.
From moving thousands of miles from home to overcoming a tremendous injury, Smith is an incredible example of determination, courage, hard work, and perseverance. Although Barnaby Smith is just starting his tennis career at FSU, he has already proven to be a true Florida State Seminole.