NORMAN — Two years ago, Andrew Harris had his life entirely planned out. The Australian native was already traveling the world to play tennis while completing high school online, and he was ready to turn pro in tennis and continue his career.
Things didn’t go according to plan. A series of back injuries kept Harris off the court and derailed his plans. Faced with the choice of trying to get back into shape alone or find another way, Harris decided to find the path that he felt would give him the best chance to reach his ultimate goal of making it as a pro.
It’s a path that led him to Oklahoma and the Sooner tennis squad coached by John Roddick. And a squad that the freshman helped land the first No. 1 ranking in program history after decisively defeating former No. 1 Ohio State.
“I had no intention of going to college,” Harris said. “I was traveling the world playing, and that’s all I thought I would ever do.”
But life and injury landed Harris at OU, and just in time to watch a program on the edge finally break through the elite in collegiate tennis. It’s a decision he doesn’t regret for a moment.
“It’s been a big change, and the days are very full between practice and everything else,” said Harris, who also spends time every day rehabbing his back injury. “It’s pretty tiring, but it’s going well. Coming to college was definitely the right decision for me.”
Oklahoma’s rise to the top began five years ago when Roddick came to OU after being an assistant at Georgia when the Bulldogs won a national title and spending several years coaching his brother and pro tennis player Andy Roddick.
Since the former All-American came to OU, Roddick’s teams have consistently improved, finishing in the top 25 every season and winning back-to-back Big 12 titles. He took the team to its first-ever Elite Eight in 2010 and began the 2014 campaign with even higher hopes.