The moment you meet junior Stuart Rowe, you can immediately feel the aura of confidence that he exudes.
His friendly demeanor welcomes a mere stranger into conversation and his smile can light up any room. While his coach, teammates and peers laud the tennis player for his efforts both on and off the court, he will be the first to tell you that he just loves to play the game.
Don’t let his kindness and infectious personality fool you, because Rowe is one of the fiercest competitors in the Cape Ann League. His 40-plus wins in three seasons have his opponents feeling uneasy before their buses even arrive at the parking lot. He has lost just one match during his entire high school career.
In a program that has had a lot of storied successes and great players, Rowe will finish with one of the greatest records in the tennis program's history.
Rowe started playing the game when he was eight-year-old after his older brother David enjoyed lessons at the Bass River Tennis Club in Beverly. As they grew older, the two brothers continuously pushed themselves to greatness in the sport and inspired each other to improve their skills. David, a successful Generals tennis player himself, is now a freshman starter for the Ursinus College tennis team in Pennsylvania.
Stuart doubled dipped with baseball and tennis until two years ago when he committed to tennis full-time with the opportunity of playing the sport in college presented itself.
Boys tennis coach Joe Maher refers to Rowe as, “the most-level headed players he’s ever coached.” And when it comes to his demeanor on the court Maher says, “If you watched Stu play a match you would not know whether he is winning or losing because he always seems to be enjoying himself in the competition of the match. He brings great energy to the team and is always a great sportsman.”
Despite his league-best record and No. 1 singles status, Rowe knows that he can’t do it all alone. He agrees with the sentiment that although tennis is an individual sport, there is still a huge team aspect to high school tennis.
“When I am playing badly, even just a few words from Coach Maher or a nearby teammate can really get me pumped up,” Rowe says. “If I can focus on the team aspect, then it helps me play better."
As the Generals enter the postseason, they know they can rely on the killer serve and contagious smile of their number one ace.
Hamilton-Wenham Patch was recently able to catch up with Stuart Rowe on Facebook chat to ask him a few pressing questions.
Hamilton-Wenham Patch: Who is your favorite professional tennis player, male or female?
Rowe: Novak Djokovic. He’s one of the top guys in the world and seems to keep a lower profile, which I admire.
HWP: What is your pre-match mindset?
Rowe: I go into each (match) not with the anticipation of winning or losing, but with a neutral approach. Once I am able to see my opponent’s strengths and weakness I adjust my game accordingly.
HWP: What is your favorite tennis-related memory?
Rowe: Easy. During my freshman year in the state tournament, I got to play doubles with my brother. We ended up in the North Sectional Finals playing against our biggest rival . Tied 2-2 in the match, our double match was the deciding match to win the sectional finals. They (Weston) had a match point, but we fought it off then got to serve for the win. The rest of the team stormed the court.
HWP: Awesome! What’s playing on your iPod before a match?
Rowe: It varies, but if it’s a big match and I need to get pumped up then I listen to “Hi Definition,” by Lupe Fiasco.
HWP: If you had the opportunity to do one thrill-seeking activity right now, what would it be?
Rowe: If I could protect myself from getting hurt, then I would want to do those ridiculous skiing. The skiing that you see when they advertise extreme gear. You know getting dropped somewhere by a helicopter and starting an avalanche.
HWP: You are a superhero. What do you do?
Rowe: Oh gosh, I’d say breathing underwater wouldn’t be half bad.