Siegel grew up 30 minutes outside New York City and has been playing tennis for as long as he can remember. Even though he has a love basketball and plays as often as he can, it was just never the right choice.
“I was just better at tennis than I was at basketball,” Siegel said. “I played basketball because I was tall and people told me to, but tennis was just something I’d always played and stuck with.”
Siegel has been playing since he was young, but he started making decisions for his career at 15 when he moved away from New York City to College Park, Md. and enrolled at the College Park Tennis Academy.
He competed with the academy for nearly two years and says it’s where he first learned the ways of self-discipline.
“It taught me a lot of discipline,” Siegel explained. “You have to be places on time, get up and train and get places yourself. You’re basically living on your own. It’s like starting college in 10th grade.”
From Maryland Siegel went south to Miami and started at the Bill Adams International Tennis Academy. Here, he competed in international tournaments all over the world. He also played in the Junior Wimbledon and U.S. Open tournaments. According to Siegel, playing in those matches made him realize he could potentially do this for the long haul.
“When I played in Junior Wimbledon and the Junior U.S. Open I was playing against guys who were trying to go pro,” Siegel said. “ I thought why not me?”
Although going pro is his dream, the vision would have to wait as Siegel opted to go the colligate route and signed to play for the Louisville Cardinals. However, after a short stint in Kentucky, he chose to transfer to Oklahoma.
“The coaching here [at OU] is so good,” Siegel stated. “We played OU and they looked like they were a close group of guys. It’s what really attracted me, good guys on the team and good coaching.”
Siegel says that chemistry within the team is strong and it’s something that he hadn’t experienced previously. Because they do have such a sense of family amongst them, the chemistry easily transfers to the court.
“I think it transcends when you’re having to pull out a match,” Siegel shared. “You look over to your teammate and he’s finishing up and he’s saying like come on, let’s go. Since we’re so close you’re going to do your best to get that point not just for yourself but for your team.”
As the Sooners embark on their road to the NCAA tournament in May, Siegel says the team hopes to improve from last year’s run.
“We definitely want to go deeper than we did last year in the Round of 16,” Siegel said.
Up next, OU continues their spring season Sunday, Feb. 2, when they host the Indiana Hoosiers at 9:30 a.m.