As the Miami University tennis team approaches their 2014 spring season, MURedHawks.com will highlight a different player each week as a part of the Tennis Tracker series.

OXFORD, Ohio – Miami freshman Andreea Badileanu began playing tennis when she was five-years-old. Marina and Gheorghe Badileanu took their daughter to the tennis club near their home in Bucharest, Romania. Together they watched her run around on the court, swinging her racket and beginning to learn a new game.

Fourteen years later, Badileanu’s parents watched their daughter board a plane to America, where her tennis career would continue 5,000 miles away.

After making the long trip from Romania to Ohio in mid-August, Badileanu began practicing with the RedHawks and settling into the team dynamic. Badileanu is the only freshman on the team. Since the Red & White did not graduate any seniors last season, she is also the only difference between last year’s roster.

Badileanu joins a RedHawk group which has seen immense success in the past few years. Miami turned in their fifth-consecutive Mid-American Conference regular season title last year in addition to a MAC Tournament championship and the program’s third NCAA Tournament appearance.

Badileanu says that she most looks forward to playing for a team. In Romania, her tennis experience all came as an individual in tournament-style play. The team aspect of NCAA tennis excites her. Cost is the main inhibitor for aspiring tennis players in Romania according to Badileanu. Unlike American high schools, where athletic departments pays for players’ uniforms, equipment and facility usage, Romanian schools do not financially support their athletes in the same way.

“In Romania, it is not like here where in college you can play tennis,” said Badileanu, referring to ‘college’ as what Americans call ‘high school’. “In Romania, it’s college and tennis. Two separate things. If you want to play tennis you have to pay for everything. For your coach, for your courts, for balls, for equipment and for just about everything.”

While she was a student at Gheorghe Lazăr National College, Badileanu began looking for Universities in the U.S. to play tennis at. A family friend knew Miami Head Coach Anca Dumitrescu, who is originally from Romania as well, and passed along her contact information to Badileanu.

“I emailed her and talked with her,” said Badileanu. “Then she came to Romania to see me play and then she recruited me.”

“When I first saw Andreea, I was impressed by how professionally she prepared on the court and her ambition in competitive situations,” said Dumitrescu. “She came here and from her first day on court worked really hard and fought for every point. If she continues to show such will power and determination she will have a great career here at Miami.”

In her first home singles match as a RedHawk, Badileanu faced off against Xavier freshman Sydney Liggins at the Miami Invitational on Sept. 28. Their singles bout took over four hours as the two freshmen needed two tiebreakers to decide the three-set match. Badileanu emerged from the marathon match victorious, winning 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.

Badileanu holds a team leading 7-0 record in singles play through the first two fall tournaments. Coach Dumitrescu and Badileanu both hope that trend continues into the spring, as the RedHawks chase their sixth-consecutive MAC regular season title.