A University of Mississippi freshmen traveled halfway across the world from Colon, Germany, to play collegiate tennis at UM.
Tim Sandkaulen said he chose Ole Miss because his close friend from Germany, Fabian Fallert, is also on the UM men’s tennis team.
“I have known Fabian my entire life,” he said. “We grew up playing doubles together, so when I was deciding what school to choose, I knew already having a best friend on the team would be a big help.”
Adjusting to the English language was one of his biggest struggles. “My English has improved tremendously, but talking and writing in a different language every day has been challenging,” he said.
Sandkaulen loves the campus and the support athletes receive. “The school’s spirit is incredible,” he said. “The entire town is so supportive towards the athletes that it brings us all together even more.”
He began playing tennis when he was 3. “My stepdad is a tennis coach, and that is how I got in to it.” He also grew up watching his mother play tennis. “Tennis is such a complex sport. It’s so physical and mental at the same time,” he said.
Fabian Fallert, a UM sophomore, described his relationship with Sandkaulen. “We are both from Germany and have been best friends since I can remember,” he said.
Fallert and Sandkaulen grew up playing doubles together at the biggest junior tennis tournaments, such as the Australian Open.
“Sometimes, it’s almost hard to believe that we played together through junior tennis, and now we are playing next to each other in college,” Fallert said.
Sandkaulen said Fallert has helped him adjust to college and life in America. “Fabian has been an incredible help for me,” he said. “It’s not always easy adjusting to a new country and college.”
Before coming to college, Sandkaulen visited many places. However, at the begging of the season, the team traveled to Hawaii. It was one of his favorite places. The team had an incredible week there and became closer. “Hawaii was amazing,” he said. “Seeing the beaches and Honolulu was special.”
Sandkaulen said his biggest role model is Roger Federer. “Roger’s composure and humble attitude is something all players look up to,” said Sandkaulen, who has a one-handed backhand like Roger Federer, which is uncommon these days.
American food has also been an adjustment. “The food is very different,” said Sandkaulen. “The variety here is much broader, but I definitely have to say I miss my mom’s cooking.”
Since Sandkaulen is so far away from home, he gets to see his family only twice a year. “Growing up, I played a lot of junior tournaments, so I was not home all the time, but now I see them even less.”
He is enjoying college and is looking forward to the next three years playing for Ole Miss. “The people I’m surrounded by have created a family-like feeling, and the town has grown on me as well,” he said.