The terrible news of passing of former World No.1 and Spain’s first Wimbledon champion Manolo Sanatana has left a huge void on tennis community. Santana, at the age of 83, took his last breaths on Saturday. 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal took to social media to express his emotions and thank Santana.
Santana was considered one of the pioneers of Spanish tennis and inspired a string of talents including Rafael Nadal, Garbine Muguruza, Carlos Moya, Alex Corretja and Juan Carlos Ferrero. “I have just received the terrible news of the passing of our great Manolo Santana,” Nadal wrote.
“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!” he concluded.
Many players other than Nadal too took to twitter to pay homage to Santana. Tennis legend Billie Jean King and 2-time grand slam champion Simona Halep paid condolences to the family and thanked Santana.
Nadal set to stage a comeback at Abu Dhabi
Meanwhile, on court, Nadal has been out of action since the last three months due to a foot injury and will make a comeback at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Nadal had a poor 2021 season where he won just two titles and his best performance at a major was a semifinal outing at French Open where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
In Abu Dhabi next week, he’ll play either Dominic Thiem or Andy Murray in the semifinal.