It is farewell to a tennis legend from Fairlie who has passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 93.
Jimmy Kirk knocked out the Scottish no.1 tennis player from a tournament in the 1950s, and also played against Judy Murray in a mixed doubles tournament in the 1970s.
A tennis club champion of many years at Largs, the Fairlie man also played as a goalkeeper in senior and junior football, featuring for the likes of Queen's Park and Kilwinning Rangers.
He taught generations of school children how to play at Largs Tennis Club, and even helped select team combinations on club evenings into his early 80s.
Jimmy’s services to the sport in Ayrshire were formally recognised at Tennis Scotland’s annual dinner in Stirling in 2006.
He was congratulated on receiving the Honorary Vice President’s Award for services to tennis at the 21st National Tennis Awards dinner. Jimmy was in good company on the honours list which also included Andy Murray as best tennis player. 
Jimmy was presented with a magnificent rose bowl which is the Honorary Vice-President’s Award for services to tennis. He started playing the game in his home village of Fairlie in the 1930s.
In an interview with the Largs and Millport News in 2006, Jimmy said: “I remembered first hitting a ball against the wall at Kelburn Terrace before heading to the courts. A lot of holidaymakers would feature in the championships and you got the opportunity to test yourself against some very good players.
"I remember during the war, it was actually difficult to get tennis balls. It was usually just the core of the ball, and you just had to adapt. The only chance of getting a proper tennis ball was if someone had brought one over from America.” 
Jimmy, who went on to become a woodwork teacher at Ardrossan Academy, gained national publicity in the 1950s when he eliminated Billy Gilliespie (Newlands), the Scottish Junior champion, from a Men’s Singles tournament. He recalled: “The national papers were saying ‘Unknown from Fairlie knocks out Gillespie’. 
In 1952, Jimmy joined Largs Tennis Club and helped them gain promotion to the 1st division of the Ayrshire League. The Largs Gents team became one of the top teams in the county, regularly finishing in 2nd top place in the Ayrshire League. During 1959, the Largs partnership of T.M Hastie and J.Kirk were undefeated in league matches. He succeeded A.W Horn as Club Secretary in 1955. 
Jimmy first became Largs tennis club champion in 1953, and his eleven year run as Men’s Singles Champion was ended by W.Burns in 1964. Fellow players described him as an attacking player and Jimmy liked to model himself on the likes of Australian Rod Laver, who was fleet-footed and good at the net. His unmistakable grin led to him being given the nickname ‘Smiler’.
Jimmy represented the south west of Scotland and played at the likes of Cambridge, Felixstowe and north Wales. In Scotland, he played at a number of major tournaments at Broughty Ferry, Elgin, St. Andrew’s and Montrose. On one famous occasion in Wales, Jimmy was part of a doubles pairing that ousted two well known former professionals who used to play at Wimbledon, creating quite a stir. “I can remember the cheers as we left the court,” said Jimmy. 
He joined Jim Riddell of Carrick in a doubles encounter to play George Kelly, an inside left back with Aberdeen football club, and Roy Erskine - Andy Murray’s grandfather. The first set proved to be an epic as the two Jimmys lost 15-13. Jimmy laughed: “By the time the first set was over, all the other matches played on the day had been completed!”
In Mixed Doubles tournaments, Jimmy played against Judy Murray, Andy’s mother, during the 1970s. He said: “She always had excellent positioning and great awareness. She made few errors most points are decided by errors and not good shots.”
In the late 1970s, Jimmy joined Kilmarnock Tennis Club and played there for a number of years until a hip injury caused his retiral from competitive play. But Jimmy carried on coaching until 2002 at Largs Tennis Club, with three of the four youngsters reaching the Ayrshire Junior Championships semi-finals during one year.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:
Jimmy is a former President of the Ayrshire Lawn Tennis Association and is an honorary member of the Scottish Lawn Tennis Association.
Following a private family cremation, a memorial service will take be held at Fairlie Parish Church on Saturday at 11.45am.