Hall of Famer Manolo Santana Has Died at Age 83

Stylish Spanish champion Manuel “Manolo” Santana has died at the age of 83.

Hall of Famer Santana was a former world No. 1 and one of the most influential Spanish champions.

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A dynamic mover and unerring baseliner, Santana was the first Spaniard to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Santana captured four Grand Slam singles crowns—The French Championships in 1961 and 1964, the U.S. Championships in 1965 and Wimbledon in 1966, the same year he reached the No. 1 ranking. He added the 1963 French doubles with Roy Emerson.

A devoted Davis Cup player, Santana was serving as Spanish Davis Cup captain and unable to attend his 1984 induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In his absence, Tennis Week publisher and Hall of Famer Gene Scott paid tribute to Santana in his induction speech.

“It’s difficult for a genius to be rewarded in tennis and Manolo was one of those few who could,” Gene Scott said at Santana’s Hall of Fame induction. “He literally invented one of the strokes that we now see in profusion — the backhand topspin lob,

“Manolo could stand back there and hit for hours. He was a great groundstroker, but more importantly he was a great person.”

Santana went on to become tournament director of the Mutua Madrid Open where he formed friendships with several of today’s stars including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Feliciano Lopez, who succeeded him as Madrid tournament director. The tournament paid tribute to the legendary Santana with a series of social media posts.

Photo credit: Getty

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