Myles Schalet has been a staple in both the singles and doubles lineups for his entire career with the Michigan men’s tennis team. As the most experienced player on a young team, the senior has taken on a leadership role this season.
After the Wolverines lost the doubles point against No. 18 Oklahoma on Saturday, Schalet took responsibility to motivate the team to rally and win four singles points.
“It’s just about regrouping and getting the guys together,” Schalet said. “I talked to them and said we can still win this.”
Even though Michigan would go on to win 4-2, four of their singles players lost the first set of their respective matches. Schalet played a part in helping them come back. Freshman Patrick Maloney, who would go on to win the clinching point for the Wolverines, spoke highly of his influence, saying that he focused on tactical adjustments and continued to motivate him.
While his words made an impact, it was the example that he set on the court by winning his match in straight sets that sparked a fire in his teammates.
“Sticking with my teammates helped a ton,” Maloney said. “Seeing Myles dominate on his court obviously helped.”
While both Maloney and Michigan coach Adam Steinberg praised his play, Schalet remained humble. Every question asked was met with a response about the team. When asked about his game in particular, he said that he was “just happy for (Maloney) as a freshman coming through.”
Schalet even had to apologize multiple times for his lack of attentiveness because he was trying to listen to Steinberg discuss Oklahoma potentially protesting the match with an ITA official due to an incident that occurred after his match. When shaking hands, Schalet had gotten into a scuffle with Oklahoma sophomore Jake Van Emburgh, and he didn’t want anything he did to negatively affect the team.
Even though Schalet wouldn’t talk much about it, his play on Saturday was nothing short of impressive. Despite Michigan losing the doubles point, he and Maloney won their match, 6-2.
His singles play was even more impressive. Playing at the No. 2 spot for the first time all season, Schalet won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, partially due to his serve.
“The serve is the most important part of the game in men’s tennis, and it’s a huge part of my game especially,” Schalet said. “You’re going to serve well in matches when you work on it in practice and I’ve put a lot of emphasis on that.”
Added Steinberg: “When he’s serving well he’s tough to beat because he’s got so much in his game after the serve.”
Coming off wrist surgery that forced him to miss all of the fall season, Schalet had struggled a bit to begin the spring season, coming into the weekend 1-2 in singles. But after winning singles matches in straight sets on both Friday and Saturday, it appears his level of play has returned to its previous form.
“It’s taken him a couple months to get his game going, but he’s there now,” Steinberg said. “I’m happy for him. He’s a senior, so he can go on to have a great year.”
As long as Schalet’s play remains at this level, he is a force to be reckoned with atop Michigan’s lineup, with the potential to lead it to a great season.
“That’s what I’m working towards, and we work so hard at this program,” Schalet said. “It’s a team effort, but I think this is going to be our year. I feel it. We’re going after the Big Ten and the national championship, and every week is one step in our program.”