Manolo Santana passes away aged 83
Tennis legend Manolo Santana passed away aged 83. The former Wimbledon champion’s death was announced on Saturday (December 11)
Santana was a trailblazer for Spanish tennis and icon of the game, as the first Spaniard to win one of the four Major titles at the 1961 French Open. He would end his career with four Grand Slam singles titles, having also reached No 1 in the world rankings.
He won two medals at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games – a gold in singles and silver in doubles – and after retiring later became Spain’s Davis Cup captain, and tournament director of the Madrid Open.
Players came out in droves to remenber the life of the iconic player, with Rafael Nadal posting a photo of the Spanish pair together, saying: “As I have said many times in the past: thank you so much for what you did for our country and for marking the path of so many. You were always a reference, a friend and a person close to everyone.”
Rod Laver, who famously completed the Calendar Grand Slam twice in his career, also paid tribute to the late tennis great, tweeting: “My thoughts are with good friend Manolo Santana, who has passed away.
“A clay court maestro, Manolo famously said grass was for cows, but still managed to win Wimbledon in 1966, and inspired generations of Spanish players with his renowned heavy topspin and fighting spirit.”