On Serve: Alex Ghilea Get to know sooner senior alex ghilea

University of Oklahoma men's tennis senior Alex Ghilea has seen it all in his time at OU. From the program's first ever National Indoor Championship, where he was named Most Outstanding Player, to a pair of Big 12 Championships, to three consecutive NCAA finals appearances, Ghilea is an experienced veteran who is anxious to cap his final season with just a little bit more.

Q: What makes OU a special place for you?

A: Just the coaches, my teammates and the fact that it’s so competitive in every sport. It’s a culture of champions and we want to win in every game we play, and I think that’s what makes us better than most teams.

Q: What did Coach Crowell bring to the program when he arrived last summer?

A: I think he brought a lot of communication skills with the team. He made us more united, and he made us believe that we can go the extra mile to win the National Championship. The last three years we made the finals, which is great, but we want to achieve the greatest goal. The benefit that we’ve got from him is that he’s trying to make us play for each other a lot, and not individually.

Q: What is it like to have four veterans and five brand new guys?

A: It’s kind of like we have two different teams, and the way we’re going to be able to blend that in turn it into our advantage is integrating the new guys into the system and telling them our expectations, which I think we’ve done a great job at so far. They understand a lot of what is expected of them and what the coaches hope they can achieve in the future. It might take a little more time to get a complete fusion between us older guys and the young guys, but it’s going to be good towards May.

Q: What type of determination have you, Florin (Bragusi), Andrew (Harris) and Spencer (Papa) put into this program.

A: Whenever we came here, the tennis program was better, but since then, we’ve added three finals, Big 12 titles and the National Indoor Championship. I think what makes us special is the fact that we bring a lot of energy and we always practice hard. We try to think of doing something better each day. We don’t want to focus on the result as much as we focus on the process.

Q: Which former teammate do you miss the most?

A: I liked them all, but I’d say Dane Webb. I think having him next to me when I was a freshman helped me a lot in my development. He was playing at No. 3 and I was at No. 5, and it was a really good thing playing next to him because I was always getting pumped and he would encourage me. He was always a big help to me.

Q: Favorite pro player?

A: Tim Henman. He’s retired now but I always liked his finesse around the net and his way of walking around the court. He was a very classy player and I liked that.

Q: Favorite place to eat in Norman?

A: It would have to be between Thai-Thai and Rudy’s.

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

A: The funniest guy on the team is definitely Adrian Chamdani.

Q: Favorite pre-match meal or snack?

A: We have these Gatorade bars in our locker room, but I only like the one with Honey Oat, and I hate the other ones. So I’d say that Honey Oat bar.

Q: What are you listening to on match day?

A: Anything that gets me pumped up. Mostly rap, there’s a lot of Drake in my playlist. To be honest it’s a lot of mainstream music.

Q: Favorite class ever at OU?

A: I’m a finance major, so I really liked my financial markets and intermediaries class.

Q: Favorite pro tennis moment?

A: Just last week actually – the fact that Federer played Nadal in the Australian Open Final.

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

A: It’s probably just, “Bring it!”, “Bring it guys!”. He’s always trying to pump us up.

Q: How many languages have you heard in the locker room in your career at OU?

A: Okay, we have Spanish, Romanian, English, French, we have German now, we’ve had Thai, so six so far… oh yeah we’ve had Hungarian too. So seven? I think seven languages.

Senior Andrew Harris on one thing people don’t know about Alex Ghilea:

A: “He likes to think he’s really good at FIFA (soccer video game). Him and Adrian Oetzbach are going at it all the time. They both think they’re the best.”

Oklahoma is in action with a pair of matches this weekend. The 14th-ranked Sooners take on Wichita State on Friday at 6 p.m. and then host Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. Both matches will be played indoors. Admission is free!


Ty Russell

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