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Tulsa Tennis Player Happy To Be On The Court

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Just getting onto the court was a match in itself for TU freshman Or Ram-Harel.

"It was a long process with a lot of problems in the way," Ram-Harel said.

He was busy playing tournaments in his youth in Israel and owned wins over the top-ranked American Juniors players and also an invite to represent Israel in the Davis Cup.

"Tennis is like my life, I was like 3 years old when I was with my dad," Ram-Harel said. "It's the dream of both of us, I don't play only for us."

But that dream almost wasn't reality. Harel may have had to serve time serving his country. In order to play tennis at Tulsa, he had to get a six month delay on mandatory military service in Israel, but because he was considered a top tier athlete in his country, he got an exemption.

And Hamel happily took the opportunity to play at TU. He says it was getting costly to play tournaments across the world as a pro. But even at TU, it's been a struggle. He's been fighting a stress fracture in his back this season.

"It's the first big injury that I got," Ram-Harel said. "It was really hard. Like all my routine, not to come to the tennis court, not to do nothing. Only to sit and watch television."

He returned to the court the first time last month as the number 3 or 4 singles players. This past weekend, he got his first win. For the freshman he's finally getting the swing of things.

"The difference between the pro circuit and the college circuit is that every week you have matches scheduled," coach Vince Westbrook said. "Coming into this environment, being injured, having to do all the rehab, and then getting used to sitting in the classroom has been a growing up experience for him. But I think he's getting used to everything."

So as Tulsa prepares for the Conference USA tournament this week, Hamel surely won't be rattled.

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