Former EP ten­nis ace Sny­man dies at 75 TEN­NIS

The Herald (South Africa) - - CLUB SPORT - Neale Em­slie

EAST­ERN Prov­ince ten­nis lost one of its most ded­i­cated ser­vants when former provin­cial player Ronnie Sny­man died of a sus­pected stroke in Rustenburg on Tues­day, aged 75.

Al­though he had lived in the North West Prov­ince town for more than a decade, Ronnie’s ex­ploits as part of the well-known ten­nis-play­ing Sny­man fam­ily will long be re­mem­bered by East­ern Prov­ince sup­port­ers.

He rep­re­sented the East­ern Prov­ince se­nior team on many oc­ca­sions and formed a for­mi­da­ble dou­bles part­ner­ship with younger brother Piet, win­ning the SA U18 dou­bles ti­tle in East Lon­don and the PE and Dis­trict dou­bles ti­tle on 14 oc­ca­sions.

Grow­ing up on the fam­ily farm at Elands River Val­ley near Uiten­hage, Sny­man was in­tro­duced to ten­nis as soon as he could hold a racket.

Along with broth­ers Piet, Ian and Pierre and sis­ter Ina, he de­vel­oped his skills by play­ing at the Rose Cot­tage Ten­nis Club, which was based on their farm.

He later at­tended Brand­wag in Uiten­hage, turning out for the EP ju­nior team be­fore pro­gress­ing to the se­nior team.

Af­ter his fa­ther died at the young age of 43, Ronnie took over the run­ning of the farm, which cur­tailed his ten­nis-play­ing days as he was 70km from the near­est pre­mier league club.

Piet, a former provin­cial player as well and ex-pres­i­dent of EP ten­nis, de­scribed his brother as a worka­holic.

“Ronnie ran the farm, but also took time to get his coach­ing cer­tifi­cate and of­ten trav­elled from the farm (a round trip of 140km) to carry out coach­ing du­ties,” he said.

He also re­called how the four broth­ers – Piet, Ronnie, Ian and Pierre – once formed a ten­nis team for Diaz, com­pet­ing in the pre­mier league.

Sny­man’s ten­nis tal­ents were passed on to his chil­dren, with An­dre be­com­ing an out­stand­ing teenage player, turning out for the EP ju­nior and se­nior teams as well.

When a se­vere drought made farm­ing dif­fi­cult at Elands River Val­ley, Ronnie and his wife moved to Rustenburg 16 years ago to as­sist An­dre with his coach­ing com­mit­ments.

Piet said he had con­tin­ued his farm work on a small­hold­ing there, while also coach­ing ten­nis.

“His death comes as a shock be­cause ev­ery­thing seemed fine and he was coach­ing just hours be­fore he passed away,” Piet said. “We sus­pect that he had a stroke.”

Be­sides his ex­ploits on the court, Sny­man served as chair­man of the Diaz club for sev­eral years, while also head­ing the farm­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion in his area.

Sny­man leaves his wife Mar­lene, three chil­dren – Jan­nie, An­dre and Re­nate – and six grand­chil­dren.

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