Kirsty Elliott was born in Zimbabwe of Scottish parents. Her family relocated to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, when she was two years old. She started playing tennis when she was four and was a member of her junior and senior school swimming and tennis teams.
During a brief stay in England, Kirsty was invited to participate in the Devon tennis squad as one of the top-ranked junior players in England. She won her club's open singles, doubles and junior championships. In 1987, the family moved again, this time to Santa Cruz, Calif., where she was the number one player for her high school and also the Central Coast champion.She also participated in Open championships in California and Nevada, and was ranked in the top ten at one point.
Elliott earned a full scholarship to the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and played at the No. 1 position. She taught tennis at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, then served as the Head Men's and Women's Tennis Coach and Physical Education instructor at Chattanooga State Community College.
She has also served as the Head Tennis Pro at the prestigious Athens (Ga.) Country Club. Kirsty's husband, Eric Elliott, is the University of Kansas diving coach.