March 31, 2005
By Adam Davidson Mesick
For the first time in the University of Washington's history, the men's tennis team has posted wins over Stanford and California in the same season. An integral component to the team's recent success is Austrian native Peter Scharler.
During last week's match against Stanford, Scharler edged out a close three set victory over Joe Kao. The win was nothing new for him, he has been posting numerous victories over NCAA and European Junior tennis players.
Scharler has traveled a long way to help the UW team reach its No. 13 ranking in the latest NCAA poll.He honed his skills on the court with his dad, growing up in Salzburg, Austria. Quickly Scharler climbed up the junior rankings, becoming No. 34 nationally and a top player in the ITF circuit.
After spending a year out of high school touring Europe in the amateur, Scharler realized he wanted to pursue an education. Fellow Austrian native, and three-year tennis letterman at UW, Andy Posavac, talked to Scharler about the opportunities of playing tennis while getting an education in the United States.
'I didn't want to just play tennis. I wanted to study and get a good education.' Said Scharler about his decision to come to Washington. Andy Posavac said it's (UW) a great school and it's a great tennis program. Ever since I've been here.'
The time Scharler spent playing juniors in Europe has helped him achieve the second best winning percentage on the team. His signature all-court style of play has confused some of the toughest opponents in the college ranks. He has the ability to change his game in order to defeat any type of opponent. During his four years as a Husky, Scharler has posted a 99-50 record, the second-best career record on the team.
'My game depends upon my opponents, I can come in and play the net, or I can stay back and slice.'
Scharler has had more success playing singles, but in doubles he finds his true passion for the game. Scharler and fellow Austrian native Chris Palmanshofer have developed great court chemistry and even reached the quarterfinals in the ITA Northwest Championships.
'I love doubles. I love the team thing, you're out there with your buddy and you try to figure out how to beat your opponents.'
The contributions Scharler has bestowed to the UW tennis program are not just through victories, he has been a great leader and teammate. In the fall of 2004, Scharler injured his shoulder. Playing through the pain he has still tallied up wins in singles, however his injury has caused him to give up playing doubles this spring. No complaints, Scharler just wants to help the team win.
'You've just got to go out there and do you job, do what ever the coach wants you to do, and if you do it and the team wins, perfect.'
The way Scharler handled his shoulder inuring is a perfect example of his career while at the University of Washington. He plays not for personal glory, but for team victories. Scharler's entire career can be characterized as that of a team player.