On Serve: Jochen Bertsch GET to know sooner freshman jochen bertsch

University of Oklahoma men's tennis freshman Jochen Bertsch is in his first year of collegiate tennis, yet he has already become a crucial component for the Sooners. The Mannheim, Germany, native is 6-1 in dual-play singles at the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 spots, providing this Sooner team a boost of depth with hopes of more to come.

Q: What made you choose Oklahoma?

A: I was aware of how great of a program this was — three times in a row in the NCAA Final. I was lucky that (head coach) Nick (Crowell) recruited me, because I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do after school.

Q: How has having another German (Adrian Oetzbach) on the team benefitted you?

A: It has helped a lot with the transition. To have someone who speaks your mother language, not only English, is really nice.

Q: What does coach Crowell stress to this team, and how has he helped your game?

A: Mostly, he wants us to be one complete unit. He wants everybody to act like a unit and to take care of each other. He focuses a lot on that and always going 100 percent in practice and in everything that we do. We have worked a lot on my volley and backhand. We work on those two things every day after practice.

Q: How has having the four older 'horsemen' of Florin Bragusi, Alex Ghilea, Andrew Harris and Spencer Papa helped ease your transition?

A: They've all helped a lot. I was here for a visit in September, so I got to know them for a few days so that when I came here, I knew what to expect. It helps a lot because they have so much experience and know how everything works if I ever need anything.

Q: What is the biggest difference you've noticed between collegiate tennis and junior-level tennis?

A: Definitely doubles, because it's a lot higher quality here. I expected that because my brother (Thorsten), played at SDSU (San Diego State) and I saw a lot of matches there, but I still didn't think the level would be this high. Adjusting to doubles has been a big challenge.

Q: What were your emotions like for that first match against Abilene Christian when you stepped on the court?

A: I was really nervous. It was kind of like jumping into cold water. It was my first college match with a pretty good crowd, so I was nervous, but it was really nice, especially because I got to play doubles with Andrew (Harris) in my first time playing doubles.

Q: What has been your favorite thing about OU so far, outside of tennis itself?

A: I love the facilities. You have everything around you that you could need. Trainers, coaches... if I need help with something or if I have an issue I can just call Nick and he'll help me take care of it.

Q: What is one thing that has been hard to adjust to in the US?

A: The food is way different, and then the time difference, but there actually aren’t very many differences from here and Germany. I will say that since soccer isn’t really big here, it’s harder to follow the results.

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

A: Roger Federer. He makes everything look so smooth and perfect, and he’s a really intelligent player with perfect strokes. I don’t want to repeat Alex (Ghilea), but my favorite moment was also probably Federer winning his 18th Grand Slam Title at this year’s Australian Open.

Q: What’s on your playlist before a match?

A: Right now, I really like Lil Yachty and still Lil Wayne, stuff like that. “iSpy” with Lil Yachty is my favorite song at the moment.

Q: What so far is your favorite place to eat in Norman and what’s your pre-match meal of choice?

A: My favorite place to eat is Rudy’s, and we usually get sandwiches before matches but I’ve always liked pasta.

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

A: I'd also have to repeat Alex... the funniest guy is (A.J.) Chamdani.

Q: There's been much debate, so who is the best FIFA player on the team?

A: Arnaud (Restifo) has become really good, he might be the best on the team now. Alex says he’s good, but he’s not that good.

Sophomore A.J. Chamdani on one thing people don't know about Jochen Bertsch:

A: "He looks and acts so serious once you first meet him, but once you get to know him he completely acts like a little kid, it's hilarious."

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