Tennis great David Samaai has died

Statement from Minister Anroux Marais: 

It is with great sadness that I received the news of the death of the great tennis player, David Samaai.

Mr Samaai hailed from Paarl, where his father taught him the game of tennis.

Because no non-white schools had tennis courts at that time, the Samaai family built their own tennis court in their garden, where they played with home-made rackets.

The hours of training he put in paid off, and Mr Samaai was soon one of the highest ranking tennis players in South Africa.

He won the South African championship, a title which he successfully defended for 21 years. Unfortunately he could never represent his country because of apartheid laws. In 1994 he captained the SA team that participated in the International Veterans Championship.

He received many accolades in recent years for his achievements in a time when he could not be recognised in his own country. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport honoured him as a sport legend in 2008.

We are sad to hear of the passing of David Samaai. He was a true example of the rewards that hard work and perseverance bring. He would not let his circumstances deter him from perfecting his skill and from competing wherever he could. He is a true legend of sport and we honour him for the legacy he leaves for our young aspiring sport stars.