At the age of 83, Manolo Santana, a four-time Grand Slam champion, passed away.
At the French Open in 1961, the Spaniard became the first player from his country to win one of the four major titles, before going on to triumph at Roland Garros in 1964.
Santana won the US Open in 1965, then went on to become the first Spanish Wimbledon champion in 1966, the same year he became world No. 1, despite famously claiming “grass is only for cows.”
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. pic.twitter.com/6GzSbzDcPT
— Rod Laver (@rodlaver) December 11, 2021
“As I have said many times before: thank you so much for everything you accomplished for our nation and for paving the way for so many,” said Rafael Nadal, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, on Twitter, with a photo of himself and countryman Carlos Santana.
“You were always a source of information, a buddy, and a someone who was well-liked by everyone.”
The great Manolo Santana has passed away.
He & I won our 1st #Wimbledon singles titles in 1966 (he was the first Spanish man to win the title). We danced the 1st dance at the Ball.
He loved the sport, & we shared many conversations over the years.
Condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/spGkz300m1
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) December 11, 2021
At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Santana won gold in singles and silver in doubles.
He became Spain’s Davis Cup captain after retiring as a player in 1977, and later served as the event director of the Madrid Open.
We lost a tennis legend and a great, kind man today. Rest In Peace Manolo Santana 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Gy7vHjfpt8
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) December 11, 2021
In 1984, Santana was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The king and prime minister of Spain shared Nadal’s remarks, describing Santana as a legend.
“Some people become legends and help to make a country great. One of them was and always will be Manolo Santana “On Twitter, King Felipe VI of Spain wrote.
Billie Jean King vividly remembered her first Wimbledon title in 1966, which she shared with Carlos Santana.
On Twitter, King stated, “We danced the first dance at the Ball.”
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