Manolo Santana: Spanish tennis great dies aged 83 | Tennis News

Rafael Nadal pays tribute to compatriot Santana, who was the first Spaniard to win one of the four major titles and the first player from his country to win Wimbledon “You have always been a reference, a friend and a person close to everyone”.

Last updated: 11/21/21 18:04


Manolo Santana retired in 1977

Four-time Grand Slam champion Manolo Santana has died at the age of 83.

The Spaniard became the first player from his country to win one of four major titles at the French Open in 1961, before winning at Roland Garros in 1964.

Santana won the US Open in 1965, before making history as the first Spanish champion at Wimbledon in 1966, the same year he became world number 1, despite the famous phrase “grass is only for cows” .

“As I have said many times in the past: thank you very much for what you have done for our country and for marking the path of so many,” 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal said on Twitter in Spanish, accompanied by a photo of him alongside fellow countryman Santana.

“You have always been a reference, a friend and a person close to everyone”.

Santana won a gold medal in singles and a silver medal in doubles at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

After retiring as a player in 1977, he became the captain of the Spanish Davis Cup and was later director of the Madrid Open tournament.

Santana was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984.

The king of Spain and his prime minister echoed Nadal’s sentiments, calling Santana a legend.

Manolo Santana, in the center, together with Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray at the Madrid Open in 2015

Manolo Santana, in the center, together with Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray at the Madrid Open in 2015

“There are people who become legends and make a country great. Manolo Santana was and always will be one of them,” Spanish king Felipe VI wrote on Twitter.

Billie Jean King fondly recalled winning her first Wimbledon title alongside Santana’s 1966 triumph.

“We danced the first dance to the prom,” King wrote on Twitter.

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