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Top Senior Player Jerry Kirk Passes

Jerry Kirk
Jerry Kirk, winner of a world and two national senior titles, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday.
 
Kirk, 66, of Atlanta, is best remembered for partnering with Hugh Thomson, of Norcross, Ga., in winning numerous tournaments including a world title in 2001 in Perth, Australia and the 2011 USTA National 65s Clay Courts in New Orleans. Kirk also earned a second USTA gold ball (emblematic of a national crown) along with seven balls and 4 bronze balls.
 
Thomson said, "This devastating to all of us everyone in the tennis world who loved him. So many people across the country are shocked. I’ve been overwhelmed with phone calls, many from people I don’t event know. He was a very, very popular person in the tennis community locally and nationally.
 
"If I helped him, it was because I made him play more. ... Mostly he helped himself improve."
 
Thomson also cited his quick feet and ability to change his game. "I don’t anybody at this age was as quick as he was. At least twice a week he had a new forehand. He had an excellent backhand and excellent volleys from both sides but especially the backhand. He had a great overhead."
 
Steve Duffel, who named him to at least 13 USTA Southern Intersectional teams, said, "He was one of the top players in the 65s. He was on the YSRA National (Keith) Donoff Challenge Cup team, which we won in 2011."
 
Kirk was a part-time teacher at Atlanta’s Bitsy Grant Tennis Center.
 
The USTA Southern staff and volunteers mourn his passing.
 

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