The Washburn tennis teams have recently finished up their fall season before the cold of winter takes over. The team is extremely young with only one senior, but the underclassmen have stepped up as leaders. One of those players is Raul-Alin Dicu.
Dicu was born and raised in Arad, Romania on the eastern side of Europe. Unlike the United States, many other countries do not have sports teams in school. All athletics are played independently.
Dicu played his prep tennis during his time at Colegiul National Preparandia Dimitrie Tichindeal, his high school in Romania.
Dicu started playing tennis from an extremely young age. His dad was a fan of tennis and wanted him to share that same passion. Although his dad never actually got to play when he was younger, he would get out in the backyard and play with Dicu during his childhood.
“When I was like five he [my dad] took me to get some lessons,” Dicu said. “Then I started playing and I enjoyed it and I was pretty good, so I just kept on playing.”
Raul was an accomplished player both in Romania and in Europe throughout his teenage years. He was top ten in Romania from the under-10 to under-14 age divisions. While in under-14 group, he was top 100 in Europe and then top 300 in Europe in the under-16 division.
Dicu decided after high school that he wanted to continue his tennis career. He began searching for a place in the United States to play.
“After talking to different coaches and having different offers, I thought that Washburn was the right place for me,” Dicu said. “I like the campus, I like the guys on the team, and I like the coach, so I thought this program would be the one to help me become better.”
Here at Washburn, Dicu has found a home and is fitting right in with his teammates. He loves the campus, as well as the school itself. He says he even enjoys his classes and looks forward to them.
“All of my teammates are great people and great teammates. We get along very well,” Dicu said. “All of us are like very united, so playing here thus far has been a pleasure. It’s been a really nice experience and I hope I can perform better and better every year and achieve as much as I can.”
Dicu is extremely interested in the stock market and therefore he is majoring in finance. He says his dream job is to someday be a manager of an investment portfolio. Only in his sophomore year, Dicu still has time to determine whether he will continue to live in the United States or move back to Europe after graduation.
“After I graduate, I would want to try to stay here for a little bit to see if I like it, maybe try to find a job,” Dicu said. “I still have plenty of time before I graduate so I’ll have to figure out what I want to do,”
Before moving to the United States, Dicu had never seen American football before. Instead, he is a huge fan of “fotbal,” which is Romanian for football, a game that most Americans know as soccer. Off of the tennis court, Dicu likes to spend his free time playing soccer.
He also enjoys hanging out with his friends and watching movies. Dicu says that his favorite type of movies are action and comedy, but he couldn’t choose between the two.
His biggest accomplishment in tennis came last year when Washburn qualified for nationals and had the opportunity to play in Arizona. Dicu and his team defeated Lander University in the first round to move them into the “Elite Eight.”
So far Dicu has had nothing but love for Washburn University. He says that he likes it here and is looking forward to playing his best tennis in the upcoming years. He is focusing on succeeding in school and creating his life here in the United States.