A long illness did not give him respite, especially in the last period which ended up being fatal. All of Spain is in mourning for the death of Manolo Santana, who will always remain a tennis legend for the country, having been practically the first Iberian to emerge on the circuit and to really take away a lot of satisfaction.
The former player died on Saturday 11 December 2021 and immediately the social networks exploded with messages of closeness and condolence towards Manuel, who has definitely left his mark on the hearts of all fans (Spanish and otherwise).
A splendid career, probably culminating in 1966: in addition to the conquest of Wimbledon (the first Spanish player to succeed in this achievement), he reached the top of the ranking. But the Madrid native was able to win a total of 5 Grand Slams, including three Roland Garros (one in doubles), the US Open and the aforementioned London tournament.
In 1968 he added a prestigious gold medal to the collection at the Olympic Games in Mexico. He has been captain of his nation's team in the Davis Cup and director of the Madrid Master 1000 since the very first edition.
A long degenerative illness progressively worsened his health, until he had to give up as a great fighter. At the Mutua Madrid Open in 2021 one of the last appearances of the Spanish icon, who died in his residence in Marbella at the age of 83.
A terrible news, which recorded many fans, former players and current tennis players dedicating a message to the Iberian legend. Among these was the winner of 20 majors and king of clay Rafael Nadal, who wrote on his social channels: As I have said many times in the past: thank you very much for what you have done for our country and for having marked the path of many.
You have always been a contact person, a friend and a person close to everyone. We will miss you Manolo; you will always be unique and special. Greetings to your family. We will never forget you!"
Tiley: "Novak Djokovic will not necessarily be in Australia"
The 2021 season is over and by now the whole circuit is enjoying these mini holidays waiting for the Australian tour.
In the first days of 2022 we will start with the ATP Cup, there will be several minor tournaments and at the end of the month there will be the long-awaited Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year. For the first time for a tennis tournament, athletes, as well as professionals and fans, will also have to have a vaccine requirement in order to play in the tournaments that will be played in Australia.
Because of this some athletes see their presence in doubt and the first of these is the reigning champion and world number one Novak Djokovic. Several times the Serbian has in the past questioned the situation regarding the vaccine and, even today, has not yet specified whether or not he has had the COVID-19 vaccine.
In the last few hours, some good news had arrived, but now there was an abrupt and important slowdown. The organizers of the Australian Open 2022 announced the entry list of the men's and women's tournament and in the men's one, with the exception of Roger Federer, all the best in the world were present.
Novak Djokovic was also in the Entry List and the organizers themselves spoke of a certain presence of Nole ready to defend his title. Tennis Australia director Craig Tiley slowed down and made important statements on the Entry List and on the number one in the world: "The official entry list of the tournament came out and Novak Djokovic was also present.
However, that was only a formality and all this does not mean that he will surely play the tournament." Once again the presence of Nole is questioned and by now only his answers regarding participation are awaited, answers that will undoubtedly arrive in the next weeks of 2021 and before the start of the Australian tour which should see Nole also protagonist in the ATP Cup.