Player Features

Adam Walton's 14,000-Kilometre Journey From Australia To Tennessee

The 24-year-old won his maiden Challenger title in August
September 14, 2023
Adam Walton in action at the Cary Challenger in August.
Alexis Galloway
Adam Walton in action at the Cary Challenger in August. By Grant Thompson

Australian Adam Walton grew up playing tennis alongside his older brother Jack. They would create ‘hectic’ Saturday schedules, starting the day practising tennis before playing cricket and rugby in the afternoons.

Their mother Sherry, who is a registered nurse, would often work night shifts and during the day would take the two boys to their activities. When Jack decided to take tennis more seriously, Adam followed in his footsteps.

A native of Home Hill, Walton received a scholarship to a Brisbane boarding school his final three years of high school before moving across the world to the University of Tennessee. Despite being more than 14,000 kilometres away from home, the 24-year-old has found success in the United States.

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“I already lived away from my parents for a couple of years, so I felt ready to go to college and there were a couple Australians at Tennessee so that's a big reason why I chose Tennessee,” Walton told “I knew the two Aussies on the team and I wanted to go somewhere where at least I knew someone. Tennessee is in the SEC [Southeastern Conference], which has very strong competition week in and week out, so it was a good pick for me.”

When Walton first arrived at Tennessee, he thought his tennis career would not go beyond college. A standout five years in which he earned ITA All-American honours and won more than 100 matches in singles and doubles changed his mind. Walton graduated in 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and then turned pro.

“The college route was definitely the way for me. I had a lot to learn, I was a little immature. I got a little bit better every year,” Walton said. “I was a pretty skinny kid and I was always definitely not good enough to try and play pro tournaments straightaway after high school.

“I was an established college player by the end of it and thought I should try it. I had some pretty decent success in the 15Ks straight off the bat and then kept pursuing, and got my ranking up inside 200 in 14, 15 months.”

Now in his first full season on the ATP Challenger Tour, Walton earned his biggest career title in August, when he won the Atlantic Tire Championships I in Cary, North Carolina. The Aussie defeated three of the Top 4 seeds and saved two championship points against Nicolas Moreno De Alboran to become the seventh different singles winner from the University of Tennessee in ATP Challenger Tour history.

<a href=''>Adam Walton</a> wins the Challenger 75 event in Cary, North Carolina.
Adam Walton wins his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Cary, North Carolina. Credit: Alexis Galloway
“I was on the back of my sixth tournament in a row. I didn't actually know prior to the event where I was going to play, but I snuck in the main draw,” Walton said. “I guess all the stars aligned and I had an unbelievable week. It'll be a week that I never forget.”

Still based out of Knoxville, one of the challenges Walton faces is finding time to speak with his family, including his mother Sherry and father Ashley, who works in the construction industry, because of the 14-hour time zone difference between Tennessee and home.

“It's either real early in the mornings or late at night that you can talk, but you can't talk during the day,” Walton said.

Despite adjusting to life as a pro and constantly being on the road, Walton is finding success. This week, he is in action at the Cary Challenger, where he boasts a six-match winning streak dating back to last month's title run.

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