Manuel Martínez Santana, best known as Manolo Santana, (born 10 May 1938 in Madrid) is a former amateur tennis champion from Spain who was ranked World No. 1 in 1966. He was born in Madrid.
Before winning Wimbledon he was quoted as saying "The grass is just for cows." He thought that tennis should be played on artificial surfaces as opposed to lawn tennis courts like the ones at Wimbledon. This statement has been repeated throughout the years by numerous players including Ivan Lendl, Marat Safin, Marcelo Ríos, and Jan Kodeš (despite his 1973 victory at Wimbledon).
In 1965, Santana, who had begun his career as a ball boy and "picked up" the game, led Spain to unexpected victory over the US in the Davis Cup, and he became a national hero. Despite his previous Grand Slam successes in the French Championships (1961, 1964) and the U.S. Championships (1965), Santana's win at the 1966 Wimbledonlawn tennis championships was a surprise, where he defeated the sixth seed Dennis Ralston 6–4, 11–9, 6–4. This was his last Grand slam title. His last big tournament win was in 1970 by winning Barcelona where he defeated Rod Laver 6–4 6–3 6–4. He also captured the doubles title in Barcelona that year when he teamed with Lew Hoad to defeat Laver/Andrés Gimeno 6–4 9–7 7–5. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1984.
At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Santana won the Gold medal in Singles, though tennis was only a demonstration sport at that time. It became a medal sport in 1988 (after another demonstration event in 1984).
He later was captain of the Spanish Copa Davis Team twice, once in the '80s and again for four and a half years in the mid-'90s, until he was dismissed in 1999. Currently, he is the organizer of the Madrid Masters.
He manages the Manolo Santana Racquets club, a tennis club in Marbella, and the Sport Center Manolo Santana, in Madrid.
Santana and Lleyton Hewitt are the only Wimbledon Men's Singles champions to lose in the first round in the following year; Hewitt's loss was during the Open Era, while Santana's was before the Open Era.
Manolo Santana was married to María Fernanda González-Dopeso, they had four children (Manuel, Beatriz, Borja, & Bárbara), their marriage ended in 1980. He also married reporter Mila Ximénez de Cisneros, with whom he has a daughter, Alba. The divorce was not friendly. He's currently divorced from Otti Glanzelius.