This Week in Sooner Tennis
The Oklahoma men’s tennis team (8-0) takes to the practice courts this week fresh off a win last weekend over Hawaii (2-6) in Las Vegas, Nev. The scheduled match against UNLV was cancelled Friday because of heavy rain in the area.
Last Week’s Recap
Oklahoma dominated Hawaii, 6-1, at the Fertitta Tennis Complex in Las Vegas, Nev.
Seniors Ondrej Fukala and Silviu Tanasoiu both remain undefeated in singles play. Fukala and Tanasoiu each owns a 5-0 overall spring singles record. Fukala beat Hawaii’s Bryon Weinberg 7-6, 6-2. Tanasoiu defeated Chad Faulk in a hard fought two-set match, 6-2, 6-2. Sophomore standout Marek Velicka defeated Dalibor Ptak, 6-0, 6-3 at the No. 1 position, giving Velicka a 5-2 singles record.
OU’s doubles swept all three matches. At the No. 1 position, the duo of junior Tommy Garrison and Fukala remain flawless with a 4-0 record by beating Hawaii’s Ptak and Ryan Sceats, 8-3. Junior Alexei Ivanov and freshmen Ryan Thomas improved to 5-1 by defeating Weinberg and Faulk, 8-5.
Recent Sooner Success
In three of OU’s six singles positions the Sooners are flawless, while two netters have only one loss. The team also sports a 10-2 singles record when facing opponents from Region V. The Sooners are 33-7 in singles and 16-5 in doubles for the spring season.
Sooners Back In The National Rankings
The Sooners fought their way back into the ITA rankings after a successful fall season. OU started the season ranked 66th and are now ranked 41st. The Sooners have upset two ranked opponents in No. 19 Arkansas and No. 40 Northwestern. Oklahoma will play several ranked opponents this season including Big 12 foes Baylor, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
The Sooners welcome three newcomers to this year’s team. Freshmen Ryan Thomas, Federico Chavarria and Razvan Axente. Thomas has earned a 3-0 singles record, while also teaming up with Alexei Ivanov to own a 5-1 doubles record. Axente received his first win of the spring season when he defeated Cameron’s Jorge Zabrodiec, 6-1, 6-3.
Head Coach Paul Lockwood
Paul Lockwood begins his 18th season as Oklahoma head men’s tennis coach. The OU graduate has compiled an overall record of 251-160 and claimed the Big Eight Conference title in 1992. Lockwood was named Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992. Lockwood’s teams have also earned eight Academic ITA All-America team honors (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004).
Lockwood’s Outlook on the Spring Season
“The guys are playing hard and competing well, but we still have a lot to improve on. I know that with the six returning starters we have experience and we have the team that can get some quality wins.”
OU Welcomes New Assistant Coach
Oklahoma men’s tennis added a new addition to their team this season in the form of assistant coach Kris Miller. Miller is a professor at Oklahoma Christian University and coached there for 16 years before the program was cut in 2003. Miller led the Eagles to the NAIA Men’s National Tennis Championship, where they were crowned champions in 2003. He was selected as the Wilson-ITA NAIA Men’s Coach of the Year in 1996 and 1998 and the Wilson-ITA and Penn Men’s Coach of the year in 2003.