Adam Walton Lets His Tennis Do The Talking

Adam Walton (photo: Witters)

HAMBURG, October 18, 2023

Adam Walton is a rare visitor to Germany competing in his first-ever pro-tournament on European soil this week. The 24-year-old Australian is the second seed at the Hamburg Ladies & Gents Cup, an ATP Challenger Tour 50 hard-court event being held at the venue of the Hamburg Tennis Federation.

Walton has already captured five titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour, two of them this season, as well as one Challenger crown in Cary, United States in August. He also claimed his first ATP Challenger doubles title at the 2023 San Luis Open in Mexico alongside Colin Sinclair. The Brisbane native played college tennis at the University of Tennessee, where he won the 2021 NCAA doubles title with Pat Harper.

Walton started his title bid on Monday with a straight-sets victory over Turkish alternate Ergi Kirkin. Afterwards we sat down with the World No. 177 for an interview.

Tennis TourTalk: Congratulations, good start into the tournament. What was the key to success today?

Adam Walton: I have been playing outdoors. This is my first indoor event. I knew that I had to come out, playing more aggressive. I thought that I did a pretty good job on that. The conditions here are a little slower, having more time on the ball allows me to dictate the rallies with my forehand.

Is that anything that suits your game?

Yes, this is actually my first-ever event in Europe. I have been to Europe a couple of times and played some German club league but this is my first tournament in Europe. I am liking it so far.

For which club did you play?

I played for Solingen.

How come that you are competing in Hamburg this week?

I played college tennis for the University of Tennessee. I like the hard courts and in Europe there is usually a lot of clay-court tennis. I feel very comfortable playing in the United States. I have a great base where my college is and I tried to play a very heavy US-schedule.

But there are other tournaments taking place in America?

Yes, but this week there isn’t. That’s why I came over to Europe. I am going to stay here for this week and maybe next week. Then I’m heading back to the States for three more ending in Champaign, Illinois before going to Australia for the pre-season preparation.

Is it difficult for you to travel a lot and adapting to new conditions?

This my first year on tour, as I graduated last year from college and I came out of school with no ranking at all. So I had to start the 15K-level and worked my way up. I started to play some Challengers about April this year. I am still learning how to adapt to new places, new conditions, new balls. Everything is new. It’s all a first for me but so far I am really loving it.

In which ways did college tennis in the US helped getting ready for the Pro-Tour?

Immensely. I came into college as an 18-year-old. I was properly a bit too skinny and inmature to start playing professional tennis. College tennis was definitely the right pathway for me. I came in and first year I played line four and then I improved every year. I became physically a bit stronger. By my last few years at college I felt like I was one of the better players and could match it with everyone at college level. That’s what eventually made me to decide to go on the Pro-Tour.

Now, you have already found out that you’re able to cope with the players on the tour?

I was quite funny, as after my fourth year on college, I had one more year because of Covid. I didn’t pick up a racket for three months in the summer. I did some ball feeding to kids. I often went to the lake and had a lot of fun. I wasn’t enjoying my tennis. Then I went back for my last year of college tennis and really played some good tennis. The aspect of not thinking too much about it helped me. The coach told me to give it a try and I won the second tournament that I played. I said, okay, that’s something here. Ever since I have slowly climbed up the rankings.

How is your practice situation right now?

During my off-weeks, when it’s not enough time to go back to Australia, which is typically the case, the coaches are really good in letting me use the facilities and practice me with the guys on the team. That’s what I have been doing for more of the time this year.

How do you spend your time off-the court when you’re on tour?

It depends on the places where I am. There are some, where is more to see. I really hope to have the chance to go out here in Hamburg to see some things. Obviously, Europe is still pretty new to me.

It is your first time in Hamburg, right?

Yes, but I have been to Germany over the summer months playing some tennis.

What have you heard about the city?

Good things. Johanna Silva, who is competing in the women’s event here, went to the University of Tennessee as well. We crossed path for a couple of years and a good friend of mine Mark Wallner received a wild card into the doubles. Having him here made it easy for me to come here because at least I know someone I get along very well. That’s really good.

Speaking about the doubles. You’re also a good doubles player, being ranked World No. 167. Is this anything that you love, and you would like to go on with?

I do prefer playing singles. I probably don’t play that many doubles events next year, just to focus on the singles. I hope to get into the qualies of all four Grand-Slam tournaments. I play doubles to help my singles. That’s the way I see it. I do enjoy playing it but I know that I could probably be more successful on the singles court.

How would you describe your own game style?

I would say that I am an aggressive baseliner to a counterpuncher. I like to win points at the baseline. I like my serve, trying to win some free points with it.

You have already climbed up the rankings pretty fast. Now, you’re a second seed at a Challenger event. Is it also a bit of pressure for you or even kind of another motivation?

I try not to look at the numbers too much. It’s quite funny, as the Challenger in Cary I won was probably the strongest one I have played all year. Lloyd Harris, Rinky Hijikata, Liam Broady played it. I feel like that I you need keep showing up and you know when your week is your week. I played some Challengers and when you look at the draw, it seems that is not that strong of a field, and you lose first round. So, I think you shouldn’t be caught up in the number and let the tennis do the talking. As long as you learn from your losses and be happy with your wins, you can enjoy the process.

Next up at the Hamburg Ladies & Gents Cup will be Jelle Sels. What can we still expect from you for the rest of the week?

I have not much of an idea of any of these guys in Europe.  I know most of the guys, who play the States swing. I probably watch a bit of film and see how he is, trying to find out what works well from my end. I am looking forward to that one.

Thank you and good luck for the rest of the week.

Interview: Florian Heer

For more information about the Hamburg Ladies & Gents Cup, please click here.