This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published May 23, 2020
It was the first day of the 2019 Class L Boys’ Tennis State Championship at Wesleyan University. The event featured several players who had previously competed at the meet, but also a handful of freshmen who were new to the field. One of them was Hand’s Sebastien Lowy.
After earning a straight-sets win in his first match, Sebastien took on No. 7 seed Alexander Kagan for his second contest. Sebastien earned a 4-6, 6-2, 10-5 victory over Kagan to help Hand finish in third place at states and put a bow on a campaign that also saw the Tigers go undefeated in the regular season and then claim their second-straight SCC title.
“It was the first day of states. We had been there for hours already, and the anticipation was mounting,” says Sebastien. “I won my first-round match without much struggle, but it was a battle against Alex. I lost the first set and lost some confidence initially, but my teammates gave me some tactical advice. I battled back to win the second set and then beat him in the tiebreak. It was definitely the best moment of my season.”
Sebastien finished with a record of 18-4 while primarily playing No. 3 singles for the Tigers in his freshman campaign. Sebastien was primed to have another great season as a sophomore, but that was taken away when the COVID-19 struck and forced the CIAC to cancel all spring sports.
“Before the start of last season, I was kind of struggling. Being with the team and practicing with all the guys really shot my confidence up, and I feel like I was ready to make a big impact this year,” Sebastien says. “We went undefeated last year, and everyone wanted to come back and win states this year. We felt like even last year we might have been able to do it, but [first-place finisher] Darien was a really strong program.”
Even though Sebastien was only a freshman, Head Coach Dawn Fagerquist says that he was one of the strongest players on last year’s squad. Sebastien picked up huge wins against Amity and Fairfield Prep during the regular season. Fagerquist was expecting him to play No. 2 singles this year.
“It was rare that we had a freshman playing so high at No. 3 singles last season,” Fagerquist says. “Sebastien is hardworking and even dealt with an injury last year, but he always put in 100 percent at practice and his matches. As a freshman, the upperclassmen looked up to him—not because of his play, but because of his personality and leadership.”
Sebastien has known Coach Fagerquist since he started playing tennis at the Madison Racquet & Swim Club at age seven. Sebastien says that Fagerquist has always been a mentor to him and pushed him to play his best throughout his career.
“Dawn has been a huge motivator in my life, and it’s helped that we’ve been working together for a long time now,” says Sebastien. “She always gives me good feedback during my matches and has helped me become the player that I am today.”
Sebastien still works out and participates in clinics at the club in order to improve his game. He’s also friends with several players from different schools in the area and will play against them whenever he has free time.
“I’ll play with kids on our team and kids on other teams, too,” Sebastien says. “It’s good to go up against tough competition, and I enjoy playing quick pickup games. It’s definitely helped me improve.”
Aside from tennis, Sebastien is also a center back in the Hand boys’ soccer program. Sebastien played for the JV team in his freshman and sophomore years and is hoping to advance to the varsity ranks as a junior.
“I enjoy soccer. It’s a lot of fun,” says Sebastien. “Soccer and tennis are two totally different sports in the fact that soccer is much more of a team-oriented game. When you’re on the court in tennis, it’s you against your opponent, and your fate is in your hands.”
In addition to playing sports, Sebastien also plays the violin. He calls it one of his favorite hobbies.
“Tennis and the violin are my two things,” Sebastien says. “When I was four years old, I saw a violin and told my parents that I wanted to play. The rest was history.”
Sebastien and the Tigers are already thinking about what they want to accomplish on the tennis court next spring. However, Sebastien still expressed his disappointment that seniors Nicholas Chieppo, Max Thompson, and Noah Gulla won’t get to play in 2020.
“I think we had a great team. I feel really bad for our seniors, because all three are great guys and great players,” says Sebastien. “They had a chance to win their second state title, and it’s just taken away from them. Everyone on our team was pumped for this season.”