Manolo Santana


Born: 10/5/1938

French Open 1961,1964

Wimbledon 1966

US Open 1965

Manolo Santana was a clay court artist who had great touch on the drop shot and the lob. Santana charmed tennis audiences around the world during the 1960s, when he won four Grand Slam titles. Santana made his Grand Slam debut at the 1958 French Open where he lost in the second round. At the 1961 French Open Santana trailed Rod Laver by 2 sets to 1 and 4-1 in the semi finals before hitting a rich vein of form. He didn't lose another game to win the fourth and fifth sets 6-4,6-0. The final against Nicola Pietrangeli was a classic. Rarely had there been such a full repertoire of shotmaking skills used in one match. The two clay court artists battled it out for five long sets and Santana's immense determination got him through in the end, as he became the first Spaniard to win a Grand Slam title. Defending his title the following year Santana lost in five sets in the semis to Roy Emerson. At the 1963 French Open Santana lost in the semis to Pierre Darmon in five sets. At Wimbledon he came from two sets to love down to beat Rafael Osuna in the third round and went on to reach the semis, where he lost to Fred Stolle in straight sets. At the 1964 French Open Santana beat Darmon in the semis in five sets. In the final against Pietrangeli, Santana was at the peak of his form in winning the first two sets as Pietrangeli struggled to time his shots. Although Pietrangeli found some form to take the third set, Santana was not to be denied and took the fourth set 7-5 for his second French Open title. At the 1965 US Open he beat Arthur Ashe in four sets in the semis and Cliff Drysdale in four sets in the final. At Wimbledon 1966 Santana beat Dennis Ralston in straight sets in the final. At the US Open Santana beat Bill Bowrey in five sets in the quarters before losing in four sets to John Newcombe in the semis. Santana’s career began to decline and he played his last Grand Slam event at the US Open in 1977, when he lost in the opening round to Guillermo Vilas. After retirement Santana captained the Spanish Davis Cup team for several years.


HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: A.Ashe 1-1, B.Bowrey 1-0, R.Emerson 1-1, A.Gimeno 0-1, R.Laver 1-2, C.McKinley 1-0, J.Newcombe 0-1, R.Osuna 1-0, N.Pietrangeli 2-0, T.Roche 1-0, F.Stolle 0-1, G.Vilas 0-1

Manolo Santana's Grand Slam record