Manolo Santana dies at 83

The world of sport is mourning the passing of Manolo santana, one of the great legends of national tennis, a sport to which he has remained linked until the end of his days. The tournament in which he served as honorary president sent a statement on December 11 to announce the sad news. “The Mutua Madrid Open regrets to announce that Manuel Santana died this Saturday in Marbella at the age of 83. The Mutua Madrid Open family wants to ask respect for Santana’s family and send a huge hug to his loved ones”, can be read in the text, where they review their brilliant professional career. It was precisely the presentation of this sporting event that took place last September at the Caja Mágica in Madrid the last time we saw santana in public after a period of absence.

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The discreet family life in Amsterdam of Alba, daughter of Manolo Santana and Mila Ximénez

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Born in 1938 in Madrid, he will go down in history as the first great Spanish tennis player. He became a hero after being a finalist in the Davis Cup in 1965, just over five years after making his debut in this tournament at the age of 20. At the end of that season he accumulated no more and no less than 54 international titles and ended up getting four Grand Slam titles. In recent years, the former tennis player’s health had suffered notably and it had even become the object of speculation. In February 2018, he had to undergo surgery for an inguinal hernia at a clinic in the city of Malaga. The operation, scheduled for a long time, forced him to postpone the act of appointment as Adoptive Son of Marbella. And it is that for years – surely from now on – tributes and recognitions to this legend of Spanish tennis followed.

Just this year, five decades have passed since his last appearance on his talisman court at the Real Club de Tenis de Barcelona. He retired from competition to spend more time with his family, but he never disappeared from the world of tennis, which was his great passion. In fact, this same summer we saw him playing in some images shared by Álex Corretja that went viral. Since 2018, when he was operated on, his health deteriorated and he handed over the presidency of the Mutua Madrid Open to Feliciano López, who assured a few months ago: “He was the person who managed to bring this tournament and is its most important figure at all levels.” The world of Spanish tennis owes everything to this man from Madrid who could be considered the first great Spanish tennis player, and who has a court in his honor at the Caja Mágica.

His personal life

On a personal level, the Madrid athlete who became interested in the world of tennis by working as a ball boy at a club in the capital has been married four times. The first time he said “yes, I want” was in 1962 to María Fernanda González-Dopeso with whom he had three children before divorcing in 1980: Manuel, actress Beatriz Santana and Borja. In 1983 he contracted a civil marriage with the journalist Mila Ximénez, who died last June from lung cancer. After the link, in which Princess Tessa of Baviera and Adolfo Suárez acted as witnesses, they were Alba’s parentsBut shortly after his birth they went their separate ways. Later the Swedish model Otti Glanzielus gave him back the illusion between 1990-2008. He finally found stability with the Colombian Claudia Inés Rodríguez with whom he has been married until his death.

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Manolo Santana dies at 83