Women’s tennis player succeeds due to hard work

By Zach Gray | gargoyle@flagler.edu

It’s certainly not by happenstance that junior Jennifer Saviano shines on the tennis court. Her 9-5 singles record and 7-2 doubles record for the 2011 season is the product of a relentless work ethic that started a long time ago.

A native of Davie, Fla, Saviano picked up her first raquet at only 5-years-old and started playing competitively at 10. Her father, who played professional tennis for nine years, owns Saviano High Performance Tennis Academy, a premiere facility that is notorious for producing collegiate and professional-caliber players. Saviano is one of those players, and her dad has undoubtedly been a major influence on her career.

“I have been around tennis my entire life thanks to him,” she said.

During her senior year of high school, Saviano made an even bigger commitment to the game by opting to be home-schooled so she could train full-time at her father’s facility. Spurred by her passion for the game, she had aspirations of becoming a college tennis player.

“I figured it was a good time to take a year off of school to train because I wanted to improve my national and state ranking to get into the best school I could,” Saviano said. “Which I did.”

Fortunately for the Lady Saints, Saviano wasn’t lured away by out-of-state offers, and she chose to stay in familiar territory.

“I was offered scholarships to some very good schools that I had always considered attending, but I wanted to stay in Florida, close to home and in the warm weather near the beach, so that somehow narrowed down my search to Flagler,” she said.

It turns out she made the right decision. Saviano said she has loved every step along the way. While she acknowledges that life as a college athlete can be taxing, she said she is thankful for her teammates and believes such a special bond has aided the team’s success.

Saviano is also good friends with former Flagler standout and current assistant coach Chelsi de Cuba. Along with the camaraderie of the team, she said de Cuba’s encouragement and expertise has been instrumental to helping her handle the stresses of college tennis.

“She is a great mentor on the court and has done such a great job with all of us. She has mentally pulled me through many of my wins this season, and I’m looking forward to having her as an assistant coach for my senior year.”

While the 2011 Lady Saints have lost two players and are competing short-handed, Saviano is optimistic that with hard work, the team will be able to maintain its No. 10 national ranking and make a run in the playoffs.

If Saviano’s work ethic is at all a reflection of the rest of the squad, they should be just fine.

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