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Legendary tennis coach Sammy Tuff dies at 81

Tennis Ulster chairman George Lucas has led the tributes to legendary Irish tennis coach Sammy Tuff who has passed away at the age of 81.

For many years Sammy was the premier coach in Northern Ireland, training daughter Louise who would go on to represent Ireland in the Federation Cup as well as competing at junior Wimbledon.

Chairman Lucas said: "Everyone in Ulster tennis will miss Sammy greatly. He was a larger than life character, his personality would light up a room.

"He was probably the first tennis coach here to really take the sport forward.

"He would have gone into clubs and given them direction on how to coach properly. He has left a great legacy behind.

"Obviously, he coached Louise and now his grandsons Peter and Sam Bothwell are doing very well at international level."

Sammy attended Strandtown Primary School where his claim to fame was playing on the same football team as former Northern Ireland international Jackie Blanchflower.

His love of tennis led to him being the first winner, in 1949, of the Ulster boys singles under-18 Championship before going on to represent Ireland in the Davis Cup.

After his playing days he served on the Ulster and Irish Councils and received an award for services to tennis from the Irish Council.

Daughter Louise said: "Dad was a devoted father and was great inspiration to me, firstly as a player and subsequently in setting the standard for me as a tennis coach."

Sammy is survived by wife Eileen, son Malcolm, daughter Louise, grandsons Gareth, Peter and Sam and great granddaughters Angel and Abigail.


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