Q: What made you choose Oklahoma?
A: “It’s a really good tennis program, having been in the NCAA Finals for the past three years. It was a big honor for me to be able to go to OU. I love the university and I have great teammates, so it’s been really nice. To be honest, I didn’t know that much about the school until I got recruited, but as I said, the last several years they’ve been pretty good so that’s the main reason I chose OU.”
Q: What do you and coach Crowell work on in practice the most?
A: “We’ve worked a lot on my forehand and my serve. We work a lot on volleys because he wants us to play big and aggressive in the big moments. I think it works well for my game because I like to go for my shots and he’s helped me improve my net game.”
Q: How much has it helped to have the four-horsemen (Florin Bragusi, Alex Ghilea, Andrew Harris, Spencer Papa) there to mentor you as veterans?
A: “It’s pretty nice to have three seniors and one junior who are very experienced and have been to the top of college tennis. They can tell you and teach you a lot. Alex is a great leader on and off the court and also having a player like Andrew – I think one of the best players in college tennis – is pretty awesome to practice with. Guys like Spencer are always fun, and he also shows great leadership so it’s really cool.”
Q: What were your emotions like the first time you stepped on the court versus Abilene Christian for your first match?
A: “Yeah, I was pretty nervous. It was my first dual match and I was nervous with the expectations, but it was also really fun when playing and I enjoyed it.”
Q: How much does it help to have Jochen (Bertsch) around – another freshman from Germany?
A: “It’s nice to have another friend and teammate who’s German, because if I have some problems at school or in tennis, it’s always good to have someone who’s also German to speak the native language or maybe even make me feel less homesick.”
Q: What’s the biggest difference between collegiate tennis and junior-level tennis in Germany?
A: “The main difference is that you play for a team instead of just individually. Doubles is much harder, but I’ve improved in doubles – there’s a lot more coming to the net instead of staying back. Also, playing for a team is much more emotional than playing alone.”
Q: Off the court, what’s been the biggest adjustment from Germany to the States?
A: “The food is very different. My mother cooks the best food in the world back home, but the food is pretty good here. I like it both.”
Q: Who’s your favorite pro tennis player and what’s your favorite moment in professional tennis history?
A: “Probably Rafael Nadal. I just love his attitude and fighting spirit, and he’s kind of an idol for me. Since Nadal is my favorite player, I’ve enjoyed every win of his, especially at the French Open. The Australian Open final of Federer and Nadal was pretty cool this year and I think everyone enjoyed that.”
Q: What’s your pre-match meal/snack and music of choice?
A: “We usually go to Midway Deli to get a sandwich before a match. Most everyone on the team gets, ‘The Vulkan,’ and everybody likes that sandwich. I listen to a lot of things, but before matches I listen to a lot of Kanye West. That’s like my main vibe before the match.”
Q: What’s your favorite place in Oklahoma besides Headington Family Tennis Center?
A: “I like Campus Corner a lot. There’s a lot of food, restaurants and places to hang out. We’ve been to Spencer’s house a couple of times, the whole team, and just hanging out as a team there is always fun."
Q: Who’s the funniest guy on the team?
A: “We have a lot of funny guys on this team. I always joke around with Alex a lot. Also A.J. (Chamdani) is pretty funny, he sometimes gets really confused, but that makes it even funnier with him. The whole team is pretty funny together.”
Q: Who’s the best 'FIFA' (soccer video game) player on the team?
A: “There are a lot of rumors going around about that. I mean, to be honest, Arnaud (Restifo) is pretty good. I’ve beaten him a few times, but I have to say that the last couple of matches I lost to him. So, maybe he’s the best one.”
Q: What has your overall experience been since joining the team?
A: “It’s just been a big honor to play for this team and coach Crowell. He does a great job and he’s always very passionate. I just enjoy playing for the team and program. It makes me proud.”