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HEART-BREAKING! Tennis legend passes away at 83; heartfelt homages pour in from the King of Spain, Rafael Nadal and other tennis players

There have been unconfirmed reports by the Spanish media that Manuel Santana suffered from Parkinson's disease.

Manuel Santana Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic

Manuel Santana, a legend of the Spanish tennis scene passed away at the age of 83. While the cause of death of the octogenarian was not revealed, the news of his passing has been received with great sadness.

Born Manuel Santana Martínez, on 10th May 1938, he was also known by the Spanish variant of his name ‘Manolo’. He turned pro in 1968 (amateur tour: 1956). He went on to collect 4 grand slam singles titles; the Roland Garros in 1961 and 1964, Wimbledon in 1966, and the US Open in 1965.

He also won the French Open in the doubles category in 1963. In 1968, at Mexico City, where tennis was included as a demonstration sport, Santana clinched the gold in singles and silver in doubles. He was elected captain of the Spanish Davis Cup Team between 1980 and 1985, and again between 1995 and 1999.

He also represented Spain in the Mediterranean Games, winning 2 golds, 1 silver, and 1 bronze. Manuel Santana was ranked as amateur world No. 1 in 1965 by Ned Potter and in 1966 by Lance Tingay.

The King of Spain on Manuel Santana:

Queen Letizia, King Felipe VI, and Manuel Santana

The King of Spain Felipe VI shared his condolences for the tennis legend on Twitter. It read “There are people who become legends and make a country great. Manolo Santana was and will always be one of them.”

Rafael Nadal on Manuel Santana:

Rafael Nadal on Twitter

Unarguably the greatest Spanish tennis player, Rafael Nadal penned emotional adieu notes for his compatriot. His message on Twitter read “Just received the terrible news of the passing of our great Manolo Santana. As I have said many times in the past: Thank you for what you did for our country and for setting the path for so many. You were always a reference, a friend and a close person to everyone. We will miss you Manolo; you will always be unique and special. Greetings to your family and lots of strength during these times. We will never forget you!”

Tennis world reacts to the passing of Manuel Santana:

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