Court a tribute to tennis lover

IRENE Smith's brother Ken played tennis right up to the week before he died.

An intellectual disability meant Ken couldn't read or write, but he loved tennis all his life and made firm friendships through the sport.

When he died suddenly in Melbourne last year, Mrs Smith wanted to pay tribute.

A long-time volunteer at Exeter Primary School, she decided to use her brother's estate to buy the school a tennis court.

Yesterday, she joined former professional tennis player Alicia Molik to officially open the $50,000 synthetic grass court.

``This will be a great thing for Exeter students now and for generations to come, and it's a lasting legacy for Ken,'' Mrs Smith said.

``Today would have meant everything to him, he would have been so proud and pleased.''

Tennis Australia also donated ``hot shots'' equipment to the school, and Mrs Smith's friends and family gave extra racquets and balls.

Molik, who reached a career high singles rank of No.  8 and also won a bronze medal for Australia at the 2004 Athens Olympics, is a long-term friend of Mrs Smith's and had been a ``pen pal'' of Ken's.

Molik also reached a career high doubles ranking of No. 6, and won two grand slam doubles titles - at the Australian Open in 2005 and the French Open in 2007. 

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