Ten­nis proves a love of life for Kirk­mans

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT - Ge­or­gia Simp­son Ge­or­gia.Simp­son@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

TEN­NIS: Jamie Kirk­man and his mum Jenny Kirk­man’s love of ten­nis has dom­i­nated most of their lives.

“One of my ear­li­est mem­o­ries is of sleep­ing in the car whilst mum played night ten­nis,” Jamie, 32, said.

The mother and son duo started JJK Ten­nis in Can­non­vale, af­ter re­lo­cat­ing from Port Mac­quarie 12 years ago.

“Not many par­ents get to work with their kids,” Jenny said.

Striv­ing to be the best has led them to op­po­site sides of the world, with Jamie re­lo­cat­ing to Flor­ida five years ago to work as the Un­der 12 head coach at IMG Acad­emy, founded in 2002 by leg­endary US ten­nis coach Nick Bol­let­tieri.

The school is a Mecca for emerg­ing and as­pir­ing ath­letes, with stu­dents be­ing ex­posed to world class fa­cil­i­ties and coaches.

“You’d have Maria Shara­pova on the court next to us train­ing,” Jamie said.

Jamie has since moved away from IMG Acad­emy, and has been work­ing in­de­pen­dently.

Dur­ing the past 18 months, the star coach has worked with Iowa’s Vic­to­ria Flores.

Thanks to his ex­per­tise the young player has com­peted in two ju­nior Grand Slams, and ranked at 40 in the world in her age group, down from 1,300.

“Be­ing able to change kids’ lives is some­thing I am grate­ful to be able to do ev­ery day,” he said.

Ms Kirk­man says the sport is unique in the sense, that it’s avail­able to all ages.

“It’s one of the only sports where a three-year-old, can play 83 year old nan or pop,” she said.

Col­lege sport is huge in the US and en­cour­ages any as­pir­ing ath­lete to look into the schol­ar­ships avail­able each year.

PHOTO: GE­OR­GIA SIMP­SON

DY­NAMIC DUO: Jenny Kirk­man, with her son Jamie Kirk­man

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