On Serve: Spencer Papa Get to know oklahoma junior spencer papa

After just two years at Oklahoma, junior Spencer Papa had already made a name for himself in OU tennis history, being an integral piece of back-to-back runs to the national championship. Now, Papa has taken his game a step further, playing at No. 1 and No. 2 singles as a junior, defeating top-25 singles opponents in consecutive matches to earn Big 12 Player of the Week.

Q: What has been your favorite memory as a Sooner?

A: My favorite memory was probably my freshman year when we won National Indoors. To have a championship just two months in at OU was pretty exciting.

Q: What makes OU a special place?

A: I’ve been coming to football games since I was a little kid. My mom went here and my grandparents went here, so it’s always been in my heart to come here, and it helps that we have such a great tennis program.

Q: What is Coach Crowell’s ‘one big thing’ that he stresses every day?

A: He pushes us every day, so I’d say work ethic. It’s not so much just focusing on the result, but how we practice every day, and I think that leads to good results anyway.

Q: Talk about the work you, Florin Bragusi, Alex Ghilea and Andrew Harris have put into this program.

A: Every day, it’s always a grind for us. I think we’ve all pushed each other during our time here, and it’s been fun. We’re all like brothers so it’s been fun to do it with them and have success.

Q: What type of legacy do you want to leave when your time is up at OU?

A: I think we’ve already – even the guys right before me - kind of put OU on the map. We want to keep that culture going and hopefully we can finish strong this year.

Q: How have you personally adjusted to becoming one of the four veterans in this program?

A: The new guys, the freshmen, they seem a lot younger, so it’s kind of been easy for me. My brother is a freshman in college so I kind of look at it like that. I have to lead them in a way by teaching them on and off the court.

Q: Who was your favorite teammate to play with who’s now graduated?

A: I’d say Axel (Alvarez Llamas) and Dane (Webb). They were kind of the leaders for me when I came in as a freshman, and they were really fun guys to be around. We’re lucky to have Axel back around (as a volunteer coach).

Q: What is your most memorable individual win at OU?

A: I haven’t had like a 3-3 clincher, but my freshman year in the NCAA Finals when I won my match first in singles against Georgia, that was really exciting for me to put the first point up for us.

Q: Who is your favorite pro player and what’s your favorite moment in pro tennis?

A: I like to see (Roger) Federer do well because he’s kind of the face of tennis. Without him in the Grand Slams, it’s a different feeling, so it’s nice to see him doing well. Winning the Australian Open – everyone was pretty happy about that. Andy Roddick winning the U.S. Open in 2003 was probably my favorite moment. It’s always good to see an American do well.

Q: Pre-match music choice and meal of choice?

A: We’ve been going to Midway Deli and I really like the ‘Vulcan’ there. It’s a good sandwich spot, and also Thai-Thai. For music, it kind of depends on the day for me. I’m really open for anything.

Q: Outside of tennis, what’s your favorite thing about OU?

A: Football games. Just the culture and energy that everyone brings is awesome and that's kind of the tradition here.

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

A: I’d say Flo (Florin Bragusi). He’s really funny in a way where you have to know him, but once you do he's really funny.

The 4th-ranked Sooners will be in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT. for a top-five showdown against No. 1 Ohio State. Oklahoma, moving up 10 spots in the past two polls, has won three consecutive matches, two of which came against No. 6 Florida and No. 7 Northwestern. OU's last appearance in Columbus in 2015 featured the Crimson and Cream defeating the Buckeyes and breaking Ohio State's 200-match home win streak, which stands as the all-time collegiate varsity sport record.

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Mikey McCareins


Ty Russell

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