When Ramon van Flymen touched down in Chicago, the Oosthuizen, Netherlands native had no clue what to expect. Not only was this trip his first to the United States, but he was to immediately board on another, smaller plane where he would then drive 40 more minutes to his home for the next four years: Richmond, Kentucky.
van Flymen, a talented tennis player in his home country, had already graduated high school and debated going to a university in Netherlands when Skype calls from Rob Oertel and company began coming through.
A doubles national champion and singles quarterfinalist during high school, van Flymen’s accomplishments on the court had attracted Oertel, who is known for finding talented players throughout Europe.
After receiving the program’s information from Oretel, and encouragement from recent EKU players he had known from home, van Flymen took the leap and began the paperwork necessary to go to an American university.
Finally, after a months long process of background checks and standardized tests, van Flymen arrived in Chicago, a stepping stone on his trip to EKU.
“My English is not the best and I had never been to America, so I was a little nervous, but I was super excited to come here,” van Flymen said.
When van Flymen finally found himself in Richmond, he immediately became an important part of the team. In his sophomore, and first full year, with the Colonels, van Flymen collected impressive stats and helped the team make Colonels history.
van Flymen and senior Alex Alvaro went where no other EKU players had gone, defeating defending doubles champs UVA and earning a chance to compete in the NCAA doubles national championship. The duo became the first EKU players to earn a ranking in the ITA top 60 during their stellar season as doubles partners, and catapulted van Flymen into the national scene.
“When you play doubles you have to have good chemistry with your partner—and good chemistry off the court doesn’t always mean you’ll work on the court, but Alex and I had great chemistry on and off,” van Flymen said. “We worked well together and he is so good that it just felt natural.”
As a junior, van Flymen is now a leader on EKU’s team and is expected to live up to the success he had in the last season, which may not be as easy as expected.
“Doubles will be harder for me because Alex graduated, but I think I have improved my singles play and become more consistent, so hopefully I can continue to stay consistent throughout the season and help the team to an OVC championship again,” van Flymen said.
Along with being consistent on the court, van Flymen was on the 2015-16 OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll for his work in the classroom and hopes to continue that success off the court.
“School is very important to me,” van Flymen said. “I got my grades up last spring and I would like to keep them up now that I am starting to take upper level classes.”
van Flymen is currently working on an economics degree and hopes to achieve his masters and return to the Netherlands for work.
“I don’t think could stay here and work,” van Flymen said. “English is too hard.