South African tennis player Wayne Ferreira had a 6-7 career head-to-head record against the player that he and many others, before the emergence of Roger Federer, regarded as the greatest of them all, Pete Sampras, the winner of a record 14 Grand Slam titles. He also ended his career having played in a record 56 Grand Slam tournaments in succession.
Despite being a two-time major winner, quietly-spoken South African Retief Goosen has remained an enigma to many. He has seldom grabbed the spotlight with his words, but his achievements on golf courses around the world have shouted out his ability and performance loudly and clearly.
Shaun Pollock has retired from cricket as the top-ranked bowler and all-rounder in the one-day game. He is one of only 10 players to take 400 test wickets, and one of only five to crack the 300-wicket, 3 000-run mark in tests - all achieved with a humility and professionalism that won the respect of teammates, opponents and fans the world over.
Zola Budd became known to the athletics' world and beyond in the early eighties when, as a barefooted teenager, she produced one incredible record-breaking performance after another in women's middle distance running.
Affectionately known as "the Black Prince", Jomo Sono has enjoyed success both as a superbly skilled player and as a coach with an astute eye for talent.
One of South Africa's greatest cricketers ever played in only seven test matches, but to quote former Australian captain and respected television commentator Richie Benaud, Mike Procter was "a marvellous all-rounder who would have walked into any test team since the war".
The Naas Botha of today is a well-known rugby commentator on the South African Supersport Channel, but in his day as a player he was one of the most feared match-winners in the game, best known for his deadly boot.
Morne du Plessis was one of South Africa's greatest rugby players and leaders, and in both respects he followed in his father's footsteps. Du Plessis senior led the Springboks to a four-nil whitewash of the much-vaunted All Blacks in 1949, and 37 years later Du Plessis junior led the Boks to a three-one series triumph over New Zealand.
Penny Heyns, who set 14 world records and became the first woman to complete the Olympic double of winning both the 100 and 200 metres breaststroke, is arguably one of the greatest female breaststroke swimmers of all time.
At the end of each year, the Nedbank Golf Challenge consistently draws some of the world's best golfers to the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City in South Africa's North West province. Small wonder: "Africa's Major" is one of the world's richest tournaments, with a total prize fund of over US$4.3-million.