10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Manolo Santana • Spanish Tennis Legend Passes Away

Hall of Famer Manuel Martinez Santana (R), best known as Manolo Santana, has passed away. EPA/FELIPE TRUEBA

The passing of Manolo Santana is a sad day for Spanish tennis.

It’s a sad day for tennis in general. Manolo was an awesome player. The stylish Spaniard showed his spirit as a Grand Slam champion.

Manolo was also a tremendous coach and tournament.

A devoted Davis Cup player, Santana was serving as Spanish Davis Cup captain and unable to attend his 1984 induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

In his absence, Tennis Week publisher and Hall of Famer Gene Scott paid tribute to Santana in his induction speech.

“It’s difficult for a genius to be rewarded in tennis and Manolo was one of those few who could,” Gene Scott said. “He literally invented one of the strokes that we now see in profusion — the backhand topspin lob. Manolo could stand back there and hit for hours. He was a great groundstroker, but more importantly he was a great person.”

A true friend of tennis, Manolo Santana was one of the true “Guardians of the Game.” He loved the sport with all his heart. He was blessed with a beautiful long life. He was loved by the whole tennis community. RIP Manolo.