May 9, 2000
TALAHASSEE, Fla. – For the Florida State men’s tennis team, the 1999-2000 season was
one of new beginnings as a pair of new coaches took the reins and added
four new faces to the program. The Seminoles experienced a baptism by fire
this year winning seven of nine “4-3” matches and eight of their 10 losses
came against opponents ranked in the top 40. The program saw two players
reach national rankings and the team defeated five ranked opponents. The
Seminoles defeated Maryland, Wake Forest, N.C. State and Georgia Tech on
their way to a 4-4 record in the ACC.
One of the highlights of the 1999-2000 campaign was the play of
Xavier Luscan. The sophomore provided a boost to the 49th-ranked Florida
State men’s tennis team all season long. Luscan, who hails from Paris,
France, instilled an aura of discipline, hard work, and dedication
throughout the team. This sophomore transfer from UCLA gives everything he
has when he walks onto the court and tests his limits every time he walks on
the court. In the 2000 spring dual match season, Luscan stepped onto the
court 23 times for FSU and walked off victorious in 15 matches, three of
those wins came against ranked opponents.
From Paris to Florida State
At six years old, Luscan would pick up a tennis racket for the
first time. In Paris, tennis courts are as common as 90 degree temperatures
during a Tallahassee summer. Luscan soon began frequenting this fertile
tennis terrain with his mom and dad who were both tennis enthusiasts.
Supportive of their multi-sport son, Luscan’s parents were no stranger to
the athletic environment. The Luscan family participated in marathons,
soccer matches, and basketball games during his childhood.
Even though he enjoyed a multitude of sports, Luscan found his true
love in tennis. His success began when he advanced to the quarterfinals in
the Orange Bowl Tournament in Miami and recorded victories over players
ranked in the top 300 of the world. After losing to the No. 5 junior player
in the quarterfinals, Luscan decided he wanted to face a new challenge in
the United States. With his parents support, Xavier decided to pursue an
athletic and academic career in America.
Luscan’s family completely backed him since the U.S. provides
athletes with a better opportunity to combine a quality education with
exceptional athletic competition. Despite their strong support, Luscan felt
extreme pressure from his loved ones to succeed. Luscan’s brother and two
sisters were not bestowed with his exceptional athletic ability, therefore,
he felt burdened with an obligation to succeed. He followed his longtime
coach and family friend of 10 years to the University of California, Los
Angeles, where he pursued an education and athletic success. Luscan
declined several full scholarship offers from Kansas, Auburn, Mississippi
State and North Carolina to be with his mentor and train at UCLA.
The Inaugural Season
Reflecting on the 1999-2000 season, his first with the Seminoles,
Luscan’s most memorable singles match took place January 28th against New
Mexico’s Matt Amgwerd, the 10th-ranked player in the nation. Luscan saw
doubt in many of the faces in the crowd and felt he had an uphill battle to
earn their respect. Luscan opened a lot of eyes and started to earn that
respect as he surpassed Amgwerd by a score of 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. With a dual
match record of 16-8 in singles play, Luscan erased any lingering doubts
about his talent.
Luscan also got a great deal of satisfaction out of his doubles
experience this season. He spent most of the season paired with freshman
Rodrigo Laub and the two made strides together on and off the court as the
season progressed. The 1999-2000 season is Laub’s inaugural one as well.
Originally from Brazil, Laub now calls Atlanta, Georgia home and is
pursuing a business career while becoming one of the teams brightest
newcomers. The duo not only share the court but they also share the rent
and the utility bill.
The roommates are continually gaining confidence in one another.
Doubles partners generally play better when they share a similar work ethic
and state of mind and this seems to be the case with Luscan and Laub. The
freshman has bonded with Luscan in ways that enhance their doubles play
beyond ordinary partners. As a result of their close relationship, they do
not shy away from honest communication on the court. Mutual feedback is
necessary as they face challenges during the season. Both feel that they
need to improve as a team if they want to excel at this level.
Tennis as a Teacher
Throughout his life, tennis has provided Luscan with lessons that
apply to every aspect of the world. Lessons learned though sport have
influenced Luscan and will continue to do so. The thrill of competition,
the consequences of not working hard, the feelings of satisfaction when
hard work turns into achieved goals, and the stamina and fortitude needed
to pull through a fight are a few of the lessons Luscan applies to his life
everyday. If Luscan ever faces trouble in sports or life, he believes the
inner strength that he has developed through athletics will allow him to
face any obstacle.
Luscan is hoping he will be playing professional tennis 5-10 years
from now but he is using his opportunity at Florida State to prepare for
any eventuality. If Luscan ascends to the top 10 and he is able to maintain
consistent success, he will take a shot at the professional tennis tour.
If not, he will use his education to pursue a business career.
Luscan’s experience with tournament competition at Florida State
has ignited a desire to create a tournament of his own as a part of his
business career. He is interested in fundraising, sponsorship, and
communication, all aspects that Luscan hopes to one day utilize in a
successful business of his own.
Luscan is just one of Florida State’s student-athletes that is
chasing a dream and finding success on the playing field and in the
classroom. He is a rising star and should give Seminole fans a reason to be
proud of their school for years to come.