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Michele and Vishnu Maharaj - December VOM

December 2, 2008 01:29 PM

Love of the game and love for each other characterize USTA Florida volunteers and lifetime members, Michele and Vishnu Maharaj of Fernandina Beach.  The doubles team has a lengthy tennis résumé, staring with collegiate tennis careers; Vishnu played at Miami-Dade Community College, North Campus and Georgia Southern and Michele at Texas and Oklahoma.  They are co-directors of the Community Tennis Association, Yulee Tennis Foundation, Inc., and both are active USPTA professionals.  For Vishnu, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, tennis is particularly close to his heart because he traveled to the United States because of tennis.

“We were a family of seven kids, and we all came to this country on tennis scholarships,” said Vishnu, who noted that his 85-year-old father, Dipnarine, still teaches tennis.

Michele and Vishnu are respected members of the tennis community, dating back to when they first met on St. Simons Island in Georgia.   At the time, Vishnu was Director of Tennis of Sea Palms Golf and Tennis Resort.  Back then, the duo used to play a lot of tournaments and Michele even held a No. 5 USTA Florida ranking in the women’s 35s.

Today, their focus has turned to tennis in Nassau County where they have helped many Nassau County High Schools establish inaugural tennis programs. 

“Any need there is for tennis and if we can help any group with tennis, we just jump in, no questions asked and do whatever we can to help,” Vishnu said.

Their Community Tennis Association (CTA), Yulee Tennis Foundation, Inc., has been embraced by the community and leading the way are Michele and Vishnu.  Nassau County Home Educators has adopted the CTA’s tennis curriculum to meet the physical education component required by the state, the CTA has been invited to bring QuickStart Tennis to various elementary schools, and local Elderhostel programs have requested to incorporate tennis with the CTA’s help. 

The CTA also hosts monthly junior and adult tournaments with proceeds often being donated to local charities.  In the future, the CTA plans to pilot Adult Grand Prix tournaments and to initiate a USTA Jr. Team Tennis program. 

“We have managed to include players from ages 4 to 86 coming from very diverse backgrounds into our programs, which proves success at what we set out to do - to provide a comprehensive program for all ages and abilities while promoting tennis in Nassau County,” Vishnu said. 

Before Fernandina Beach there was Key Biscayne, in which the couple lived for six years.  Vishnu was the facility manager of Crandon Park Tennis Center and Michele was an Oncology nurse at the University of Miami (currently, Michele is an oncology research nurse at the Mayo Clinic).  In 2006, USTA Florida named Crandon Park Tennis Center its Member Organization of the Year under Vishnu’s lead. 

The pair has been involved in tennis for decades, and USTA Florida is grateful to have such a dedicated duo who understands what it takes to serve the needs of a community and ensure the continued growth of the lifetime sport of tennis.


Vishnu Maharaj

Michele Maharaj

Birthplace:  Trinidad and Tobago

Family Members Include:  Daughter Mia and numerous siblings on both sides

Favorite Movie:  My Cousin Vinny

Favorite Food:  Curried fish

Favorite Travel Spot: Napa Valley

Favorite Tennis Stroke/Shot:  Drop shot

My earliest tennis memory was… Playing tennis on our home court in with my 4 brothers and 2 sisters and being coached by my father, Dipnarine.

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be…  My wife Michele, my daughter Mia and Manuel Santana.

When I am not playing tennis I am… Golfing or cooking.

Best ever tennis memory…  Winning the National Championship for Miami-Dade North Community College.

  Gary, IN

Family Members Include:  same 

Favorite Movie:  Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Favorite Food:  Barbecued Meatloaf

Favorite Travel Spot:  Yellowstone National Park

Favorite Tennis Stroke/Shot:  Inside out forehand


My earliest tennis memory was… Playing in my first USTA tennis tournament at the Notre Dame campus.

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be… Vishnu, Kevin Costner and Fabrice Santoro.

When I am not playing tennis I am… Bike riding or playing golf.

Best ever tennis memory…  Hosting my first charity tournament and being amazed at the number of participants that entered to support the American Cancer Society.






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