Dubai: Tennis fraternity of the UAE and beyond were in a state of shock and disbelief at the news of passing away of Slah Bramly, Technical Secretary of the UAE Tennis Federation (UAE TF) in the early hours of Wednesday.
Bramly, who was keeping indifferent health in recent times, succumbed to a massive heart attack in the early hours of Wednesday in his native Tunisia. His wife Ramla was with him when he breathed his last. His younger brother Hichem – also the national coach for the UAE squad – and his three daughters Fatima, Yasmine and Yosra had recently returned to Dubai due to the start of the academic year.
His final rites were completed later on Wednesday in his native Tunisia.
“The passing away of Slah is a huge loss for our sport, not just in the UAE, but through the entire Arab region. Slah was always the go-to man in case we needed anything related to tennis. He was always such a gentleman and willing to help anyone,” Essam Jallali, former Tunisian Davis Cup player and current coach of top Arab player Ons Jabeur, told Gulf News from Paris.
“He has been one of the few constants in my life as a tennis player. He was there at the Tunisian Tennis Federation when I went there for the first time as a nine-year-old kid and I met him last recently at the same office,” he added.
After pulling away from the national team as player, Jallali began his career as a coach that included travelling with Jabeur as part of her team. “When I first came to the UAE, Slah was already here to guide and assist me in whatever I needed. He was always a part of tennis in my life. Honestly, I don’t know how to express myself and my sympathy to the family. He will always be in our hearts,” Jallali said.
He (Bramly) was knowledgeable. You could ask him anything about tennis and he had all the answers. During my three terms as board member of the UAE TF, it was Slah who was constantly backing us up in ensuring that there are more emirati youngsters involved in the sport
Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director of the Dubai Tennis Championships, mourned the loss of Bramly. “He was knowledgeable. You could ask him anything about tennis and he had all the answers. During my three terms as board member of the UAE TF, it was Slah who was constantly backing us up in ensuring that there are more emirati youngsters involved in the sport,” Tahlak said.
Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, former Vice President of the UAE TF, praised Bramly for being such a “wonderful and hard-working gentleman’’ for tennis in the UAE and beyond. “He was the technical boss and he was so dedicated to his work. We’ve lost a very reliable and true authority in tennis here,” Falaknaz said.
Omar Bahroozian, the mainstay of the UAE Davis Cup squad, found it tough to believe that Bramly is no more. “He’s been with us for so long now. I met him first when I was a teenager and he was always there with his advice. Later, when I opted for a career in coaching Slah was the one who gave me tips that have been useful in more ways than one,” Bahroozian said.
He (Bramly) was the technical boss and he was so dedicated to his work. We’ve lost a very reliable and true authority in tennis here
“He was one of the few people here who have really worked hard for our sport. Everyone appreciated the efforts he has put in over the years. We can only pray for his family and hope that Allah grant him peace,” he added.
UAE’s Davis Cup captain Mahmoud Khalifa too was at a loss for words. “It’s a huge loss for tennis. There was nothing that Slah didn’t know. He did a lot for tennis here, but one thing that always stood out was his passion for the sport,” Khalifa said.
“Tennis was truly in his blood and he was always around when needed. He has seen so many board members come and go, but Slah was perhaps one of the constants there. He simply knew how to handle the pressure,” he added.
“Slah always encouraged us to host local and international tournaments in Dubai and supported us with all technical matters with great passion and respect,” Zayed Abbas, a former UAE tennis player and now in-charge of the sport at Al Wasl Club, said.