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Racket Sports by Charlie Garfinkel: How Buffalo landed men’s and women’s pro tourneys

Nick Sargent is managing partner for Sargent & Collins LLP and is also the winner of the prestigious United States Tennis Association Eastern Corporate Service Award in 2013. His passion and love for the game is well known by many tennis players and manifest in his law firm’s support of two local professional tournaments.

Miller Tennis Center will host the $10,000 Sargent & Collins, LLP Women’s Tennis Championships from May 29-June 5 and the $10,000 men’s tournament from June 11-19.

Buffalo is one of only six U.S. cities to host both men’s and women’s pro tournaments.

For Sargent, the impetus behind the firm’s sponsorship is rooted in the tennis exploits of his daughter Sara, a former captain of the Nichols team and a Division III All-American in doubles at Swarthmore College.

“As a result of her playing tennis at Miller and the joy that she and her friends had playing tennis, I thought it would be a great idea to bring Future’s tournaments to Western New York,” Sargent said.

Women’s Wild Card singles and doubles tournaments will be held from May 20-22. The men’s Wild Card singles and doubles will be held from June 3-5. The winners in each event will earn a berth in the main draw. The second- and third-place finishers in each event will earn a berth in the qualifying draw.

In addition, Harry Wang, 16, who plays out of Miller Tennis Center, and Amber O’Neil, of New Jersey, ranked 50th nationally in the 18 & Under Division, will be playing in the qualifying draws by virtue of their winning the recent USTA Junior Wild Card Tournament held at Miller.

Tony Miller, a UB tennis star, and Jesse Hollins of Orchard Park, one of the area’s top junior players, were awarded places in the main draw as wild cards

The $20,000 for the two tournaments will be provided by Sargent & Collins LLP. The firm also sponsored $10,000 pro circuit women’s championships in 2011, 2012, 2013, and pro circuit men’s Future tournaments in 2014 and 2015. Miller was the first club to bring women’s pro tennis into WNY, in 2011.

Todd and Debbie Miller, facility owners, noted that the support from Sargent and his law firm is unprecedented in Western New York tennis.

Running a tourney

Many are unaware of Miller Tennis Center’s role in tournament logistics, a wide-ranging array that includes:

• Disbursing the $20,000 in prize money.

• Payment, lodging and meals for pro circuit umpires and a full crew of officials.

• Lounge set-up for players and officials.

• Daily buffets for officials and players.

• Providing physicians if needed (UB Medical Group).

• Shuttle service for all players and officials.

• Providing practice courts and indoor backup courts as needed.

• Spectator accommodations.

• Promotion.

Todd Miller said, “To compensate for lost playing time to our members due to the tournaments, Debbie and I have increased the length of our outdoor season with free leagues and indoor play.”

For additional information on the tournament call the club, located at 5959 Sheridan Drive in Williamsville, at 632-8600, or email