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Manolo Santana, first Spaniard to win a Grand Slam, dies at 83

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Manuel “Manolo” Santana, the first Spaniard to win a Grand Slam tennis championship, died Saturday at age 83.

His death was announced on the official Twitter account of the Madrid Open, of which he was the honorary president. A cause of death was not released.

Santana was a four-time Grand Slam winner. He twice won the French Open (1961, 1964), and also won the 1965 U.S. Open and at Wimbledon the following year.

Rafael Nadal, winner of 20 Grand Slam titles, remembered him Saturday on Twitter as a trailblazer for tennis in Spain.

“I have just received the terrible news of the passing of our great Manolo Santana,” wrote Nadal, according to Twitter’s translation from Spanish. “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.”

Santana was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984.

He was ranked in the Top 10 seven times and reached No. 1 in 1966. He won 73 professional and amateur titles, and at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, where tennis was a demonstration sport, he won the gold medal in singles and the silver in doubles.

–Field Level Media

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