Scharf Aces The Opposition

Eric Scharf had to look no further than his living room for his practice partner on the courts.

Having a twin brother on the St. John’s tennis team saved him from having to find a worthy opponent every time he wanted to practice. “It was great to have Brian to play tennis with all the time,” Scharf said. “It wouldn’t have been easy to find someone to play with all the time if I didn’t have him.”

Scharf started his tennis career when the owners of a gymnastic school he attended introduced him to the sport through their son who played professionally. He was just 10 years old at the time and enjoyed ice skating and hockey. But his interest about the sport of tennis was sparked.

When it came time to think about college, Eric and his brother decided that they wanted to go to the same school and stay close to home in Bronxville, NY. St. John’s seemed like the perfect choice for them. “We decided that we wanted to stay together and St. John’s gave us the opportunity to be near home and our family,” Scharf said.

Throughout Scharf’s years at St. John’s, he has been one of the top players for the Red Storm. This fall season has been outstanding for him so far. In the ITA All American Tournament in Stone Mountain, GA, he won his first round match, beating 12th-seeded Jason Marshall of Purdue, 6-0, 6-1 before falling to Scotty Scott of Stanford, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) in the second round. The All-American is a national tournament where Scharf faced some of the top ranked players in the country.

Unlike many college players of his stature, Scharf has never traveled outside New York state to play in pro tournaments in the summer. Last year, he did have the opportunity to practice with Rob Givone of Katonah, a professional player who retired late last year. “It’s not how much you practice,” Scharf said. “It’s who you practice with.”

Last year, Scharf posted a 33-3 record earning him the No. 2 ranking in the Eastern Conference. This enabled him to play in the NCAA National Championships in Athens, Ga., where he lost in the first round to the No. 1 seed, Jeff Morrison of the University of Florida.

This season, Scharf is posting a 10-2 record and a 1-3 record in doubles with his brother. He hopes that this fall season will prepare him for the spring when he is aiming to make the NCAA Tournament again and finish higher. Scharf also wants his team to make the Big East Tournament this year by competing with teams including Miami, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Rutgers.

After his college career, Scharf hopes to continue playing tennis by turning pro. He needs to play well in order to attract a sponsor to cover the expenses of turning pro. “It costs a lot of money to travel and enter into the professional tournaments,” Scharf said. “Without a sponsor to cover the costs, it is pretty impossible to play professional tennis.

NOTEBOOK 2000: Qualified for NCAA Tournament
1999 Quarter Finalist at ITA Men’s Eastern Region
1999 Won UCONN Invitational A- Flight
1999 Finalist at Cornell Invitational A-Flight
1999 Won West Point Invitational A-Flight
1998 Quarter Finalist at ITA Men’s Eastern Region
1998 Won Cornell Invitational Tournament A-Flight
1998 Won West Point Invitational A-Flight
1997 Fall Quarter Finalist at ITA Men’s Region
1997 Fall Won ECAC Tournament at Vasar A-Flight