About John-Laffnie de Jager

  • Former top SA Tennis player
  • SA Tennis coach
  • Founder: Matchpoint Tennis Foundation
  • Owner: JL’s Tennis Academy

“If you wanted someone to fight for your life, John-Laffnie de Jager would be a name at the top of your list”. At birth his heart stopped and doctors injected him in order to get his heart going. This damaged the main nerve in his right-leg and he lost nearly all possible movement in his right foot, leaving him in a cast till he was three years old. The prognosis wasn’t good: doctors told him he will only have 10% use of his nerve, a 12% chance of walking one day and will never be able to participate in sport.

More than enough reason to let go of your dreams? Not JL. This all only motivated him to such an extent that he left school on his 16th birthday, finished both Grade 10, 11 and 12 in one year and started playing professional tennis the following year. Driven by the desire, passion and determination that only true champions possess, JL demonstrated an inspirational commitment and drive to succeed.

His international tennis record as professional player speaks for itself:

He went on to play in 45 Grand Slams, including two Mixed Doubles Finals( Australian and French Open) and five semi finals( Wimbledon twice, US Open twice and Australian open) and obtained a career-high team ranking of no 4 in the world.

He is a proud South African, never losing out on the opportunity to represent his country. This includes a Semi-Final spot in the Men’s Doubles at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. He played Davis Cup-tennis for South Africa and ended with five wins and only one loss under his belt.

JL , as Captain, lead the resurrection of the South African Davis Cup Team, going on to have a 10 match winning streak. His love for Team Tennis is reflected in him being awarded the World Team Tennis Coach of the Year in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

“I have three wishes for tennis in my country – to provide the opportunity for every South African child – regardless of who they are, where they live or what their background may be– to experience the joy of tennis, to feel the freedom of being fit and healthy and to one day embrace the pride of playing for our great nation”.

Today he has his own tennis academy in Pretoria, coaching some of the top junior players in the country. His passion in life is lending his time, name and expertise to charitable organizations. He has his own foundation called the Matchpoint Foundation. The Matchpoint Foundation is backed by current and ex South African players that wants to give back and help rebuild tennis in South Africa. This is an initiative that helps to support and develop South African youth to reach their potential in tennis and in life. JL will inspire you, he will touch you and he will engage you with his courage, his tenacity, his passion and his spirit. His story will change you and your team, forever.