Manolo Santana

Manolo Santana, born in Madrid on May 10, 1938 and died in Marbella on December 11, 2021, was a Spanish tennis player. He hit the tennis courts in the 1960s, winning four Grand Slam singles and one doubles tournament, the first Spanish tennis player in history to win the Wimbledon Championships.

He won the men's singles tournament at the Mexico City Olympics and lost the final in the men's doubles tournament, but without being in the official medal table, as the tournament was only demonstrative. In 1984 he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Until 2018 he managed the organization of the Masters 1000 in Madrid.

Born in Madrid on May 10, 1938 into a humble family, he worked as a ball boy in the Club de Tenis Velázquez and started playing tennis. His father died in 1954 and shortly after Santana entrusted himself to the care of coach Romero Giron, who in addition to giving him tennis lessons made him do weight lifting and made him resume the studies he had abandoned five years earlier.

He won the Spanish junior championships in 1955 and 1956 and remained under the strict control of Giron, which allowed him to begin traveling alone abroad in 1959. He was married four times and had a total of five children.

In the men's singles he won four Grand Slam tournaments: two Roland Garros, in 1961 and 1964, in both cases beating Nicola Pietrangeli in the final, a US Open in Forest Hills in 1965 and a Wimbledon in 1966, twelve years after the latest success of a European tennis player on grass in London. He never participated in the Australian Open. As a doubles player he won the Roland Garros in 1963, playing in tandem with the Australian Roy Emerson.