He was known for his big forehand, fearsome serves, his court speed, his enviable back hand, balance, excellent anticipation and impeccable net play. He retained the South African singles championship for 21 years.
Samaai was also a prolific doubles player and held the South African doubles championship title, with partner Ossie Woodman, for many years.
Despite playing during the apartheid years, Samaai defied the odds stacked against him to play at Wimbledon, the French Open, the Swiss Open and the German Open. In 1999, the Paarl resident received the Presidential Sports Award for lifetime achievements in tennis.
He also became the vice-chairperson of the South African Tennis Association in 1999 and continued to serve his community for many years. On Heritage Day 2018, at the age of 91, he was inducted into the Sports Legends Hall of Fame - along with 21 of the Western Cape's sports stars.
Tennis South Africa (TSA) vice-president Riad Davids said Samaai would be forever remembered in the hearts of tennis fans across South Africa.
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