NCAA Womens Tennis

HUSKY SPOTLIGHT: MELISSA SAKAR – University of Washington Athletics

HUSKY SPOTLIGHT: MELISSA SAKAR - University of Washington Athletics


When asked about UW … when asked about her tennis career as a whole … when asked about her teammates, “grateful” was the word Melissa Sakar returned to again and again.

When Head Coach Robin Stephenson asked Sakar on her visit which feeling she experiences the most in life: grateful. 

After earning her Bachelor’s degree from Columbia, Sakar moved across the country to use her last two years of eligibility at Washington. 

Going from life in New York City, where the hustle and bustle brought on a feeling of needing to “one-up” those around her, to Seattle, which Sakar described as “very west coast vibes,” was quite the transition. 

Being around a team and a coaching staff who were caring and supportive from day one didn’t mean Sakar was receptive to the care and support from the get-go. 

Sakar recalled a conversation on her official visit to UW with a senior at the time, Vanessa Wong, that stuck out to her during the transfer process. 

She [Vanessa] and the coaches were asking deep, introspective questions — they really wanted to get to know me and how my experiences have shaped who I am,” Sakar said. “That stuck with me. I haven’t really been in an environment like that, like what do you think? I haven’t had that question or that vibe in a tennis setting.”

It wasn’t until this past season, her second at Washington, that Sakar felt like she fully let her guard down around the team. 

Her first season in Seattle she spent with her focus primarily on improving her tennis and keeping up with the increase in level and intensity that playing for a Pac-12 school brought, Sakar said. 

She realized she didn’t have to choose just one — she could play her best tennis and embrace the vulnerability of the team all at once. 

“I trained really hard between last year and this year. I knew what I needed to work on. I came back having improved a lot more and felt more at peace with my tennis, knowing I had done all that I could have done,” Sakar said. “Once I had that internal peace with myself I stopped projecting my own fears onto the coaches and embraced the process.”



Sakar stopped for a moment to reflect on some of her favorite memories as a Husky the past…

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