Q: In a few sentences, describe what your time at OU has been like.
A: “It’s been a great experience overall. Tennis wise, it’s been great. I’ve been to two finals and won the Big 12 tournament, so it’s been great. Off the court, my experience here has been a little different because it’s different from what I’ve experienced so far in my life. But I’ve really liked and enjoyed my time here, and I’m happy to be a Sooner.”
Q: What initially brought you to OU?
A: “Well, the assistant coach at the time, Silviu Tanasoiu, who’s the head coach of Cornell now, starting recruiting me when I was here. When he left, he talked to (then-head coach) John (Roddick) about me and I knew Alex (Ghilea) was coming here. I was also recruited by a couple other schools, but I knew Alex was coming here, and John kept recruiting me so I came here.”
Q: How much has your relationship with Alex helped during your time here?
A: “He made my decision a lot easier. It’s been great to have someone from the same country as you, speaking the same language with the same values and beliefs you have. It’s been great to have him here.”
Q: What has coach Crowell brought to this team and program?
A: “Nick is very different from John in some ways, but very similar in some others. He’s a very, very good competitor and he tries to do everything he can in order to win. That’s a very good side he brings to the team. He really believes in positivity, team chemistry, having energy out on the court and off the court hanging out with the guys.”
Q: What have you worked on most with Nick in your game?
A: “Just being a little more aggressive, going more to the net and stuff like that.”
Q: What’s your most memorable match as a Sooner?
A: “I can’t really even decide between the two. The first one is against Baylor in the final of the Big 12 tournament when I won 6-4 in the third to clinch the tournament. The second would be at Ohio State when we broke their (NCAA record) 200-match home win streak, so those are my two most memorable.”
Q: What was your transition to the United States like?
A: “(After I lived in Romania) I actually lived in France for six years before I came here. Things are different here than Romania or even France, but I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve started to understand the culture here and the ideas and customs that people have here. I think that has helped me to have a more open mind and be more understanding of other people.
Q: What’s the biggest difference since coming to the US?
A: One thing I can never get used to is the food here. I don’t really like it here but I get to eat at one of my favorite restaurants in the world I’d say – Thai Thai. In the world. I go there at least twice a week… it’s unbelievable.
Q: How has the transition into becoming a senior leader been?
A: “I think the young guys are doing a great job, on and off the court. We get along very well with each other, every guy on the team, so that’s been great. On the court, tennis wise, they’re making the same mistakes we were doing too when we were new guys, and I’m sure they’ll do a great job here in the future.”
Q: What’s your favorite thing about OU, off the court?
A: “I’d have to say Thai-Thai again.”
Q: What’s your favorite class been at OU?
A: “I’m a human relations major, but I’ve had a couple different majors. I started out with business, but didn’t love the math, so switched to health and exercise science. I really liked that major, it was very interesting to me, but it was hard. I’d say my favorite class has probably been nutrition, but I really like psychology too.”
Q: Who’s the funniest guy on the team?
A: “I’d have to say Arnaud (Restifo). I can’t even explain why. The thing is that I speak French, so I’m able to understand him in his native language, but whenever he talks in English he’s not as funny. The other guys don’t really understand how funny he is.”
Who’s your favorite pro player and why?
A: “Of all-time is Fernando Gonzalez, but he’s not playing anymore. I liked his game style and he was very competitive on the court. Right now, I really like Richard Gasquet. He’s from France and I really like his backhand.”
Who’s the best FIFA (soccer video game) player on the team?
A: “Arnaud, but I’ve been starting to beat him, so I’m a close second. I’m coming back.”