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Florida Tennis Briefs(2): Family Profile, USTA Jax Re-launch

August 31, 2011 12:57 PM
Saffran Family are Tennis, Life Stars in Central Florida

By Susie Rahimitabar, TennisLife-Florida Region 4 columnist

Miles and Pam Saffran wearing their USTA nationals t-shirts
Meet the Saffran family of Central Florida.  It is not unusual that the love for a sport is shared amongst family members, but this family combines their passion with unique skill and fascinating abilities. 

I first met Pam Saffran when she brought her young daughter Ella (then 6) to the first Quickstart Jr. Team Tennis event. She was one of six families that participated in a pioneer effort to promote tennis for the 8 & under level player on 36-foot Quickstart courts at Fort Gatlin Tennis Center.

Years later, I heard that she and her son Miles (different teams) both competed at National Championships in 2010.  While this is outstanding in and of itself, what I learned about these special players makes them stars and I had to get the story. 

Mother, Pam Saffran, is a two-time All-American college tennis player and recently went into her college Hall of Fame at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

In November of 2010, Florida-Orlando 5.0, her team, came in 10th in the country at the national competition at Indian Wells, Calif. Pam and her teammates were competing against players almost half their age (average age at nationals 5.0 was 25, Pam's team's average age is 45). 

Oldest son Miles Saffran played USTA 18 & Under (at age 14). His team, Smith Barney Strikers, advanced to national championships representing Florida at Surprise, Arizona in Oct of 2010, placing 9th in the nation. 

I had been asking the Saffrans for a story on their remarkable year but apologetically Pam wrote that the family (Pam, her husband and her two boys, Miles and Nat) had been out of town on a Medical Mission trip for Florida Hospital.

When asked about it she added, "We go every year, this is our third year, and last week my husband (ENT surgeon Alan Saffran) put in 16 sets of tubes and the plastic surgeon did 48 cleft lip and palate repairs in six days! We were in Merida, Mexico -- the Yucatan. A very successful trip so sorry I was not able to get back to you sooner..."

Look for tennis greatness from the rest of the Saffran family since 13-year-old son Nathaniel is also a ranked USTA tennis player and plays USTA Jr. Team Tennis. Dad, Alan, and their youngest, Ella (8 years old), also love tennis.

USTA Jacksonville Website Re-launches with Local Tennis Info

sets in the city jacksonvillleTennis information in Jacksonville, Fla., has a new hub with the re-launch of the USTA Jacksonville website, featuring local news and information on adult leagues, Jr. Team Tennis, workshops, pro events, 10 and Under Tennis and more.

"This is the new go-to place for local USTA players on the First Coast to get information on USTA leagues, Jr. Team Tennis, and upcoming events," said Jacksonville-area USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Amanda Becker. "It will be a great resource and one-stop shop for veteran players or new players looking to get into the game." 

Upcoming events include the "Sets in the City" charity play day for young professionals benefiting the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, and a 10 and Under Tennis workshop for local tennis instructors in nearby Mayport.

"Area organizations or individuals that have news to contribute can e-mail me at becker@florida.usta.com," Becker says.

For more information go to www.ustajacksonville.com.





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