NORMAN, Okla.-- For the first time in 13 years a player from the University of Oklahoma men’s tennis team won the individual singles title at the prestigious Wilson/ITA Central Regional Championships. Sooner Marek Velicka became just the third player in OU history to win the individual crown by defeating No. 6 seeded Rohan Gajjar of Arkansas, 6-4, 6-2, Monday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Un-seeded Velicka fought through a hard bracket, defeating four seeded players to claim the title. The sophomore improves his fall record to 10-2 overall, with the two losses occurring in three-set matches.
Former Sooner Olivier Lorin first won the ITA singles title in 1986, followed by Michel Tremblay in 1991.
The win automatically qualifies Velicka for the National Indoor Singles and Doubles Championships that will be played in Ann Arbor, Mich., Nov. 4-7. He is the only player from the state of Oklahoma and one of 32 competing for the singles title at this esteemed tournament.
OU men’s tennis coach Paul Lockwood believes Velicka deserved this title.
“Marek had an outstanding tournament, defeating six tough opponents on his way to the title,” said Lockwood. “I’m so proud of him. He has worked hard to improve his game and we look forward to even better things ahead for him and the team in the months to come.”
In the singles consolation finals, OU’s Silviu Tanasoiu defeated Sooner Lee Gregg, 7-5, 6-4.
Wilson/ITA Central Region Championships
Michael D. Case Tennis Center * Tulsa, Okla.
Monday, Oct. 18, 2004
Marek Velicka (OU) def. No. 6 Rohan Gajjar (ARK), 6-4, 6-2
Silviu Tanasoiu (OU) def. Lee Gregg (OU), 7-5, 6-4