Ever since Drew Hassenbein was introduced to sports at the age of four, winning was of the utmost importance to him. Second place was not an option, and everything was a competition. Drew was an all-around athlete and played every major sport, but tennis was always his passion.
At eight-years-old, Drew was introduced to his coach Adrian Chirici at Robbie Wagner Tournament Training Center. After a few lessons, Adrian told his parents (Mitch and Jaime), “I’ve been coaching tennis for a long time, and I believe your son can be not just good, but really good!”
Drew was encouraged to play the prestigious “Little Mo” Internationals at Forest Hills. He had a successful campaign that convinced him that Adrian may be right! From there, he started to compete in National Tournaments and by the age of 12, he became the #1 ranked player in the country. By eighth grade, he was already being scouted by college tennis programs.
But Drew did not rest on his laurels. He continued to excel and competed in other prestigious events such as the Easter Bowl and getting an invitation to the National Qualifying of the Les Petits AS. As a seventh-grader, he played first singles and led Roslyn to the Nassau County team title, as well as winning the county doubles title and qualifying for the New York State Championships.
You could see the joy that Drew had from being part of a team, which really brought out his best attributes; he embraced carrying the weight of his school and teammates and playing for them.
Drew’s secret, according to his dad Mitchell, was you can be blessed with some natural ability, which was true of Drew, but if you didn’t match it with the work, effort and passion, it won’t amount to anything. Drew didn’t believe in taking days off, and always had the fear of not being the best that he could be. Drew’s mantra was, “I don’t collect trophies, I collect hours—hours of hard work!”
Off the court, Drew was a dream child. He was super close with his mom, sister, and especially his dad. Tennis created an inseparable bond between them, as they shared a love for the sport and were always traveling around the country together for tournaments. They were best friends.
Drew loved spending time with his aunts, uncles, and cousins, and cherished his time with his grandparents, who loved to watch him play.
His passion outside of tennis was always his friends. He had a rare, effortless quality that made everyone in his life feel special and important.
The entire Long Island tennis community, and beyond, feels this loss. The outpouring of support from people around the world has been tremendous. At Drew’s funeral, all of his lifelong friends spoke, and each one introduced himself by saying, “My name is______ and Drew is my best friend. Drew had a way of connecting with everyone he met—adults, teachers, opponents coaches—he was funny, witty and most of all, kind. He was a beautiful soul that will be missed tremendously.
Drew’s aunt started a GoFundMe page to raise money for underprivileged kids and rising tennis stars and help them pursue their dreams. His family started the Drew Hassenbein Foundation which will be a 501(c)(3) organization with a goal to set up DHass scholarship for players and tennis events across the country.