The Marbella City Council decreed two days of mourning to honor one of its most illustrious favorite sons. Manolo Santana, the first ‘Supermanuel ‘in the history of Spanish tennis, who died last Saturday at the age of 83.
The burning chapel, installed in the Hospital Real de la Misericordia, in the city of Marbella, remained open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. And over there A lot of family, friends and admirers paraded who wanted to say their last goodbye to this legend of Spanish sports.
One of the first authorities to approach the site was the mayor of Marbella, Maria Angeles Muñoz, who, how could it be otherwise, glossed the figure of the great missing athlete. With this was the councilor for sports of this municipality, Manuel Cardeña- The Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta, was also there, who highlighted “the importance of what it has meant for sport. One of the greatest of all time ”.
In addition to relatives, many flower crowns also arrived. The first was one of the Gil family (Jesús Gil was mayor of this town). Among the many that arrived, one from Rafa Nadal and family and another from Carlos Costa and family as well.
Many of those who approached spoke moving words to the deceased. Conchita MartinezAnother myth of our tennis commented the following: “I have come to give the family a hug. It’s a sad day because a tennis pioneer has left. We will remember him as a passionate about this sport. I loved seeing him at tournaments. He loved this sport. I have a lot of anecdotes with him ”.
‘Supermanuel’ got people to talk about teni in Spain, a country where only football, boxing and cycling were interesteds. His successes at Winbledon, two Davis Cup finals against Australia, the colossus of the time with the Rod Lavers, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall and company, popularized the sport and boosted the sale of rackets. In 1990 he moved to Marbella where, in a selfless way and working piecemeal, he promoted the Roman Bridge and a lot of tournaments, which made this Costa del Sol city a benchmark tennis player.
José Manuel Franco, president of the Superior Sports Council (CSD9 expressly arrived from Madrid accompanied by the water polo player Jennifer Pareja. These were his words. “Manolo Santana has been more than a pioneer of this sport. It has been the pioneer with everything it represents. Tennis owes it everything, the level we have with victories in Davis Cup, Great Slams, etc. From the CDS we want to give him the recognition and tribute that he undoubtedly deserves ”. In this sense, this Monday a burning chapel will be installed in La Caja Mágica in Madrid between 12:00 and 20:00 so that everyone who wishes to come to pay tribute to him ”.
Garbiñe Muguruza, another of our leading tennis players, also wanted to express all her feelings to her family and friends. “He was a very humble person, he seemed close to us, like a father. He has left a great sporting legacy ”.
As time passed, the number of people who wanted to say goodbye to Santana increased. One of the most interesting examples was a group from Alicante who was on vacation and who, upon learning of his death, wanted to come to see him as a sign of respect. Among the people who came, it was worth mentioning Oti, who was his third wife.
In addition to his wife, Claudia Rodríguez and her son, Cristian (a son for Manolo), one of the most affected people was undoubtedly the tennis player Feliciano López because, in addition to their close friendship, he felt great admiration for his enormous figure.
At 1:38 p.m. Emilio Butragueño arrived. The director of external relations of Real Madrid had time to express his admiration and appreciation for this formidable athlete both in a private capacity and on behalf of the white entity: “A great man is leaving, a benchmark in Spanish sport.”
And finally After signing the regulatory papers, the hearse with the tennis player’s corpse left for Madrid, the city where he was born and where he will rest forever.
Manolo Santana has left us, but his heritage and the much he has done for tennis will remain forever.