Manolo Santana: Spain's former Wimbledon champion dies aged 83

Manolo Santana
Manolo Santana's success inspired a host of future Spanish players, including Rafael Nadal

Four-time Grand Slam champion Manolo Santana has died aged 83.

The first Spaniard to claim one of the four major events, Santana won the French Open in 1961 and 1964 and the 1965 US Open.

Despite famously saying "grass is for cows", he won Wimbledon in 1966.

"Like I've said many times in the past, thank you for what you did for our country and for showing all of us the way," said 20-time Grand Slam winner and compatriot Rafael Nadal.

"You were always a benchmark, a friend and a person close to us all. You will never be forgotten."

Rafael Nadal paid tribute to Manolo Santana on his Instagram account

Spanish football giants Real Madrid, whom Santana supported and was a member of, described him as "one of the great legends of Spanish tennis and sport".

"He is one of the greatest tennis players of all time, as well as a passionate Madrid player and a faithful representative of our values ​​throughout his career," Real said.

After retiring as a player in 1977, Santana became Spain's Davis Cup captain and in recent years was the tournament director of the Madrid Open.

The main court at the Caja Magica, which hosts the prestigious clay-court tournament in the Spanish capital, is named in his honour.

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