On Serve: Andrew Harris get to know oklahoma senior andrew harris

Senior Andrew Harris is one of the most dominant players in Oklahoma men's tennis history, both on the court and in the classroom.

The Melbourne, Australia, native is a three-time All-Big 12 member, three-time Academic All-Big 12 member and was an ITA All-American in 2015. Harris was also named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2014 and 2014 ITA Rookie Player of the Year. With a career singles record of 61-24, Harris holds the 7th-best singles win percentage in program history, and is 53-35 in his doubles career. He was a key member of all three NCAA Finals teams from 2014-2016 and helped guide Oklahoma to its 2015 ITA National Indoor Championships title.

Q: Describe your career at Oklahoma in a few sentences.

A: “It’s been up and down. I’ve had a lot of success, but unfortunately a lot of injuries. Overall though, it’s been such an amazing experience and journey.”

Q: What drew you to OU during your recruiting process?

A: “A big factor was (former OU head coach) John Roddick. I really liked how he went about things and he really wanted to develop you into a professional tennis player, and that was my ultimate goal, so he was the main reason why I came here.”

Q: What aspects of your game have you improved on during your collegiate career?

A: “A few things, I’ve improved my serve, my slice and I’m a bit better in the defensive side of the game as well.”

Q: How has (first-year head coach) Nick Crowell helped you and what was he brought to this program?

A: “He’s been great. He’s brought a lot different things. One of the big things is that he’s brought great culture. The team is a lot closer and we’ve got great team chemistry. Just the competitiveness – competing hard every day in practice – that’s really been a focus.”

Q: How have you older guys helped bring the freshmen along?

A: “I think the older guys have done a really good job with the freshmen. Coming in January is tough, going straight into the season. Spencer (Papa) especially has helped them out a lot off the court with rides and things like that, and on the court too. Me, Alex (Ghilea) and Flo (Bragusi) have showed them a few things here and there on how to improve, whether it’s on the court or in school. I think they’ve benefited from our leadership.”

Q: What’s your most memorable match?

A: “My most memorable match was probably beating Baylor two years ago (to win the Big 12 Tournament) in front of their fans. That was probably my most memorable one, but also beating UCLA in the NCAA semi-finals in I think my freshman year.”

Q: Off the court, what’s been the biggest transition from Australia to the States?

A: “I definitely miss my mom’s cooking at home. It’s harder to eat healthy each day here when you’re always busy and on the go I’ve noticed. That’s probably the main thing, but also the big city life. I’m from Melbourne, a big city, and I love being around a big city whereas Norman is a little bit of a smaller town, so that’s been an adjustment for me.”

Q: What's your favorite thing about Norman or OU, not involving tennis?

A: “I love Norman as a college town, you’re in your own little world. My favorite place to eat is probably Fuzzy’s, I go there a couple times a week. Every time I go to Thai-Thai, I love it, but I don’t go there as much as Florin.”

Q: Who’s the funniest player on the team?

A: “There’s a few, I’d say. A lot of these freshmen – (Adrian) Oetzbach is pretty funny and Arnaud (Restifo) has cracked me up a few times.”

Q: What has been your favorite class at OU?

A: "Either political geography or the fundamentals of franchising.”

Q: Who’s the best FIFA (soccer video game) player on the team?

A: “I don’t play much because I’m pretty horrible. I think I’ve only had one win ever, and that was against Spencer because he’s pretty ordinary too. Arnaud (Restifo) is probably the best.”

Q: What’s Coach Crowell’s most popular saying?

A: “He’s got a few… one is definitely, ‘compete!’ and he loves saying ‘see!’, he’s got the whole team saying it now.”

Q: How will your experience at OU help you after college?

A: “I think it’s just been a great experience for me in terms of managing school and tennis. I’ve tried to excel in both and I’ve really put an emphasis on my schoolwork too where I’ve done pretty well. Just combining both and having the organization and discipline to do both will have me ready for the future in tennis and life after tennis. My time management has gotten a lot better."

No. 15 Oklahoma will host the Big 12 Tournament from Thursday, April 27-Saturday, April 29 at the Headington Family Tennis Center. The Sooners kick off the tournament with a showdown against No. 9 Texas at 10 a.m. CT on Thursday, as OU begins what they hope to be another long postseason run.

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Mikey McCareins
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