Former EP tennis ace Snyman dies at 75 TENNIS
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.