In the South African context when it comes to tennis, we generally do not produce many well known tennis players and have not done so for a very long time.
Apart from Kevin Anderson who has done very well late in his career, we have not produced any other tennis players on the global circuit.
In the past this was not the case, there were many players who were competitive at grand slam level.
Here are just a handful of SA players who became global stars
Born in South Africa, Kriek matriculated from Affies High School and immigrated to the US after his tennis career took off. Johan reached a career high of world number 7 which included 14 singles titles and 8 doubles titles. His greatest achievement was winning back to back Australian Open titles in 1981 and 1982. In the other slams he reached the semi finals of the US and French Open whilst also reaching the quarters at Wimbledon.
Sandra is regarded as the greatest female tennis player from South Africa. In her career she won 4 grand slam doubles titles and 1 mixed doubles title. In 1959, she was runner up in the US
Women’s Clay Court Championships in singles. The following year in 1960, she was ranked third in the world. That year her greatest singles tennis achievement was becoming the first female from South Africa to play in a Wimbledon Final, which she lost to Brazilian Maria Bueno.
Born in Durban, Kevin became a double sensation winning 4 grand slam doubles titles at the Australian, US Open and at Wimbledon. In singles tennis he reached a high of fifth in the world whilst his greatest achievement was losing the Wimbledon final to Boris Becker in 1983. On the way to the final he beat John McEnroe and defending champion Jimmy Conners.
In his career, Cliff won 5 singles titles and 6 doubles titles. In 1972 he was able to win the US Open doubles title. In singles tennis his top achievement came in 1960 when he reached the final of the US National Championships, now known as the US Open. He also reached a career high of world number 4 in 1965 and reached the semi finals of 5 grand slam tournaments.
In the past SA has had some top tennis players and even a few grand slam winners. Between the 1960s and 1980s, South Africa had some golden years with multiple talented tennis players. Hopefully in the future, SA will have another golden period considering all the talent that is evident in our junior players.0