NORMAN — The air is still, apart from the whooshing sound of the tennis ball as it flies across the court. It seems the two players speak their own language as they grunt back and forth, the competition rising.
Beads of sweat cling to Andrew Harris’ arms and legs, the sources of his power.
During this recent practice match, Harris has ditched his typically quiet demeanor for what lies beneath: a fiercely competitive collegiate tennis player with only one agenda.
The 19-year-old Australia native treats practice for the University of Oklahoma tennis team as he does every match and competition.
This relentless edge in Harris, who is still recovering from a serious back injury that put him out of tennis for 11 months, is what helped him claim his first professional win in October at the USA F27 Futures tournament in Mansfield, Texas.
“That actually has been the most memorable moment for me so far,” Harris said.
Winning a professional tournament trumps Harris’ victories at the Junior Wimbledon Championship and Junior French Open in 2012, two of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world.
The college freshman has come a long way from home for his tennis career, a 20-hour plane ride to be specific, but this is nothing out of the usual for Harris.
Raised by his professional tennis player mother, Anne Minter, who was once ranked No. 23 in the world, and his professional tennis coach father, Graeme Harris, he was thrown into the world of tennis at age 4.
Harris said he cannot recall his first few wins because he was so young.
Harris worked his way up by competing in tournaments all over Australia, spending his childhood years traveling and practicing.
At 13, he was selected for the National Academy in Melbourne, Australia, which is a high-performance tennis training program for young athletes.