Tennis proves a love of life for Kirkmans
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.
Jenny 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.