Rafael Nadal leads tributes following death of ‘unique and special’ tennis legend
A five-time Slam champion and three-time Davis Cup finalist has passed away, with fellow legend Rafael Nadal one of the first to pay tribute.
1984 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Manuel “Manolo” Santana has died at the age of 83.
Across a playing career spanning over 20 years from 1956 until 1977, the Spaniard won singles Slam titles at Roland Garros in 1961 and 1964, the US Open in 1965 and Wimbledon in 1966.
He further won the doubles at Roland Garros in 1963, and reached the final of the Davis Cup with his nation in 1965, 1967 and 1970.
Following the news, none other than Spanish giant Nadal has given his tribute to his great compatriot.
“I have just received the terrible news of the passing of our great Manolo Santana,” Nadal tweeted.
“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.
“We will miss you Manolo, you will always be unique and special. Greetings to your family and a lot of strength at this time. We will never forget you!”
Te echaremos de menos Manolo; serás siempre único y especial. Un saludo a tu familia y mucha fuerza en estos momentos.
Nunca te olvidaremos! #manolosantana #santana #tenis #tennis #DEP pic.twitter.com/zKC2VejhHL
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) December 11, 2021
Another Roland Garros champion, 2018 winner Simona Halep, lent her words of condolences too.
“We lost a tennis legend and a great, kind man today. Rest In Peace Manolo Santana,” she tweeted.
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
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