Marbella announces two days of mourning after death of Manolo Santana

Manolo Santana on court

Tennis great Manolo Santana who was a pioneer of the sport in the 1960s and won four major titles in his career died December 11 at 83 years old.

The region who knew him as their adoptive son – Marbella – have declared two days of mourning in his honour, local government officials have confirmed.

Santana was the first Spanish player to win a Grand Slam title after his victory at Roland Garros in 1961.

He also won at the French Open again three years later, the US Open in 1965 and Wimbledon in 1966 where he beat America’s Dennis Ralston in a surprising defeat to win the tournament, despite it being well known that he was against grass courts, infamously saying that “grass was for cows.”

In his later years, Santana settled in the region of Marbella, and was even given an award by the city for his professionalism, integrity and contribution to society after living there for over 30 years.

Tributes have been rolling in for the former world No 1 ever since the Madrid Open, where he served as tournament director after his retirement, announced his death.

Fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are among the players who have been paying homage to the legend of the game.

Djokovic wrote how he was “heartbroken” when he heard the news, while Nadal revealed he’d “never forget” Santana.

The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has also honoured Santana, tweeting: “My condolences to Manolo Santana’s family, his loved ones and the tennis world.”