February 12, 2009

Q and A: Tennis Player Art Karas

Feb. 12, 2009

By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information

Art Karas is a big guy on campus at Eastern Washington University, not because of his size (he is 5-foot-9), but because of his accomplishments on the tennis court and in the classroom.

The senior from Portland, Ore., has the most career wins in Eastern Washington history with 46 (teammate Pannhara Mam is right on his tail with 42).

Karas also holds the record for the most wins in a season with 18, which was accomplished last year, as he helped the Eagles to the Big Sky Conference championship. Karas also attained All-Big Sky honorable mention accolades last season.

He is one of the two Scholar-Athletes for the Month of January, named by the EWU athletics department. He has earned Big Sky All-Academic honors the last two seasons and is majoring in accounting.

The Eastern Washington University men’s tennis team is next in action on Wednesday (Feb. 18), when the Eagles take on Gonzaga University at 6 p.m. at the Spokane Racquet Club.

Q: Who have been the most influential people in your academic career?

A: “I would have to say my father is number one. He has really pushed me in the right direction and has been a good mentor.”

Q: Who has been your favorite professor at EWU and why?

A: “It would have to be either professor William McGonigle or professor Joe Dowd from the accounting department. They are both really great teachers, great people and help me out a lot.”

Q: Who have been the most influential people in your athletic career?

A: “Well, my father started me in tennis. Our former coach, Patrick Dreves, was really influential; he helped me take my game to the next level. Also, Darren Haworth, our current coach, has been really great and does a great job with our team. He helps everyone out.”

Q: What is your best tennis moment?

A: “I’d have to say when we won the Big Sky Conference last year, hands down. That has been the pinnacle of my career and could potentially be the highlight unless we repeat this year, which is a good possibility.”

Q: What is your favorite aspect of tennis?

A: “The mental aspect. You don’t see any seven footers backing you down and dunking on you. It’s a big mental game. You have to get out there and play every point. I really like that about it, and it has been really fun.”

Q: What do you attribute to your academic success?

A: “The pressure of getting a job after school. I’d have to say that is my driving force to do well in school. I guess it all boils down to salary!”

Q: What are your goals for this season?

A: “First off I’d like to keep improving, I feel like everyone is playing really well, and we are all stepping up. But the ultimate goal would be to win the Big Sky again. Win the conference and get another ring, which would really put the cherry on the cake of an already great career.”

Q: You have more wins than any other male player in EWU history -- what makes you so successful?

A: “It’s a close race between Pannhara Mam and me, and he has been out these last few months. But I don’t know; I just go out there and try to play as hard as I can and not have any regrets. I leave everything out on the court and give it 100 percent.”

Q: What do you plan to do after you graduate from EWU?

A: “I’ve always kind of hoped to go travel around the world and possibly play some tennis. Maybe try to get on a pro circuit and see what happens. Potentially I could just start working, but I don’t really know yet. I guess I will cross that bridge when I get there. Eventually I’d like to run my own business, make my own hours and make some money. But in the more immediate future, I’d like to become a CPA.”

Q: Who is your favorite tennis professional and why?

A: “Probably Marat Safin from Russia. He is hot headed, but he has unbelievable talent. He is insanely fun to watch.”

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