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Vernon Gordon 'Bob' Kirby (22 June 1911 – 27 September 1994) was a South African tennis player.

Vernon Kirby
Menzel with Bucky.jpg
Vernon Kirby (left) and Roderich Menzel (right) arriving to the 1935 Australian Championships
Full nameVernon Gordon Kirby
Country (sports)South Africa South Africa
Born(1911-06-22)22 June 1911
Durban, South Africa
Died27 September 1994(1994-09-27) (aged 83)
Perth, Australia
Height1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Turned pro1931 (amateur tour)
Retired1947
PlaysLeft-handed
Singles
Highest rankingNo. 9 (1934, Literary Digest)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open2R (1935)
French Open3R (1937)
WimbledonQF (1934)
US OpenSF (1934)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenQF (1935)
French OpenF (1931, 1937)
WimbledonSF (1933)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian OpenF (1935)
WimbledonQF (1931, 1933)

Kirby was educated at the Durban High School where he played cricket and football. He started tennis at the age of five and played in his spare time while at school.[2]

In May 1931 Kirby and his teammate and compatriot Norman Farquharson, were runners-up in the doubles final of the French Championships, losing in straight sets to the American pair George Lott and John Van Ryn.[3] In July he won against George Lyttleton-Rogers in the final of the Wimbledon Plate, a tournament for players who were defeated in the first or second rounds of the singles competition at the Wimbledon Championships. Later in July Kirby beat his doubles partner in straight sets in the singles final of the Scottish Championships at Peebles.[4][5][6] He also won the North of England Championships in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in singles and doubles.[4]

In 1933 he won the Kent Championships and in January 1934 he was victorious in the Estoril tournament.[7]

In 1934 Kirby reached the singles quarterfinal of the Wimbledon Championships but lost in four sets to American Sidney Wood.[8][9] Later that same year at the U.S. National Championships he defeated future Grand Slam winner Don Budge in the fourth round to reach the semifinal in which he lost to eventual champion Fred Perry in four sets.[10][11] In 1935 he reached the mixed doubles final of the Australian Championships with the Australian Birdie Bond. They were defeated by Australian Louise Bickerton and Frenchman Christian Boussus in three sets.[12][13][14]

Kirby reached the singles final of the South African Championships on four occasions (1933, 1935, 1937, 1938). He was victorious in the doubles in 1931[15] and 1932.[16]

He was ranked the third in the South African rankings in 1932 and World No. 9 in 1935 by J. Brooks Fenno, Jr. of The Literary Digest.[1][16] In 1937 he was ranked No. 1 in South Africa.[17]

Between 1931 and 1937 he played in ten ties for the South African Davis Cup team. The best team result was reaching the semifinal of the European Zone in 1935 against Czechoslovakia. Kirby had a Davis Cup match record of 16 wins vs. 8 losses and was more successful in doubles (7–1) than singles (9–7).[18] Kirby died in September 1994 in Perth, Australia.[19][20]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

 
Vernon Kirby at the White City Stadium in Sydney, Australia in November 1934

Doubles (2 runners-up)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1931 French Championships Clay   Norman Farquharson   George Lott
  John Van Ryn
4–6, 3–6, 4–6
Runner-up 1937 French Championships Clay   Norman Farquharson   Gottfried von Cramm
  Henner Henkel
4–6, 5–7, 6–3, 1–6

Mixed doubles (1 runner-up)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1935 Australian Championships Grass   Birdie Bond   Louie Bickerton
  Christian Boussus
6–1, 3–6, 3–6

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b J. Brooks Fenno, Jr. (20 October 1934). "Ten at the Top in Tennis". The Literary Digest. New York City, United States: Funk & Wagnalls: 36. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Lawn Tennis – Menzel and Kirby Disapprove Foot-fault Alteration". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 November 1934.
  3. ^ "Kirby and Farquharson Bow to Lott and Van Ryn in Final of French Doubles". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Béla Kehrling, ed. (1 October 1931). "Magyarország tenniszbajnokságai" [Hungarian Championships] (PDF). Tennisz és Golf (in Hungarian). Budapest, Hungary: Egyesült Kő-, Könyvnyomda, Könyv- és Lapkiadó Rt. III (18–19): 3–9. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Lawn Tennis – Peebles Finals – New Scottish Champions". The Glasgow Herald. 20 July 1931.
  6. ^ The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), 11 August 1931, Page 13 – S. Africans Win Scottish Titles – Retrieved 11 September 2012
  7. ^ J Buddell (17 February 2011). "Kent All-Comers' Championships" (PDF). beckenhamtennisclub.co.uk. Beckenham, United Kingdom: Beckenham Tennis Club. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  8. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis : an authoritative encyclopedia and record book (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 419. ISBN 9780942257700.
  9. ^ "Impressive Records". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 13 July 1934. p. 10. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  10. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis : an authoritative encyclopedia and record book (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 459. ISBN 9780942257700.
  11. ^ "Perry Plays Allison Today For National Tennis Crown With Injured Right Ankle". The Evening Independent. 12 September 1934.
  12. ^ Collins, p. 376
  13. ^ Max Robertson, ed. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Tennis (1st ed.). London: Allen & Unwin. p. 374. ISBN 0047960426.
  14. ^ "TENNIS TITLES". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 14 January 1935. p. 14. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  15. ^ Béla Kehrling, ed. (20 April 1931). "Külföldi hírek" [International news] (PDF). Tennisz és Golf (in Hungarian). Budapest, Hungary: Egyesült Kő-, Könyvnyomda. Könyv- és Lapkiadó Rt. III (8): 15–16. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  16. ^ a b Béla Kehrling, ed. (22 April 1932). "Külföldi hírek" [International news] (PDF). Tennisz és Golf (in Hungarian). Budapest, Hungary: Egyesült Kő-, Könyvnyomda. Könyv- és Lapkiadó Rt. IV (3): 55. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  17. ^ G.P. Hughes, ed. (1951). Dunlop Lawn Tennis Annual and Almanack 1951. London: Ed. J. Burrow & Co. Ltd. p. 303.
  18. ^ "Davis Cup Players – Vernon Kirby". ITF.
  19. ^ Ancestry: Vernon Gordon Kirby
  20. ^ Billion Graves: V.G. (Bob) Kirby

External linksEdit