‘Novak Djokovic tried to find ways to overcome them’, says former star

Manolo Santana, tennis pioneer and a great reference in Spanish sport, died this Saturday in Marbella at the age of 83. The news came through a statement transmitted by the Mutua Madrid Open, a tournament in which he served as Honorary President and that he piloted between 2002 and 2018, making the Spanish capital one of the key points of the ATP Tour. Recognized as one of the great pioneers of the racket in Spain, Santana has left his mark by opening the way for great national figures with his example. The Madrid-born reached world No. 1 in 1965 and achieved four individual Grand Slam titles: Roland Garros (1961, 1964), US Open (1965) and Wimbledon (1966). Unforgettable gestures in a country with little prior baggage on the circuit. Raised in a working family, son of Braulio-electrician-and Mercedes-housewife-, Manolo was able to assert his love for the sport to open his way to the circuit elite. His tenacity allowed him to break down barriers never seen in Spain, extending the popularity of tennis in a pre-professional era. His figure is among the great icons of Spanish sport and his social presence has remained intact to this day. Proof of this is the Manolo Santana Stadium, the main court of the Mutua Madrid Open that bears his name. The ATP Masters 1000 clay tournament, the most important tournament held in Spain, preserves the indelible legacy of the Madrid native. The samples of affection from him have not been left waiting through social networks. Countless figures of the circuit have poured words of praise towards the legend, one of the most beloved myths for its spontaneity, closeness and contagious joy. Novak Djokovic will be next competing in the ATP Cup starting from the first week of January 2022. Djokovic’s status for the Australian Open is still unrevealed.

Nole ended the season at the top of the ATP ranking

Former Russian tennis player Dmitry Tursunov believes Novak Djokovic will end up with the highest number of Grand Slam titles. “I find it hard to assume that Novak won’t win another Grand Slam. He will break the record for the number of wins, that’s not a problem for him. Roger has very little chance of winning another Major, given his age, style of play and condition. Rafa’s game is too energy-intensive, he plays every game like it’s the last. Considering his age and health, this is a disadvantage,” Tursunov said. The Russian, who coaches World No. 7 Anett Kontaveit, likened Djokovic to a triathlete and tipped the Serb to continue dominating the sport. “The three complement each other. Djokovic has become such a strong player thanks to Federer and Nadal. He tried to find ways to overcome them, and he relied on physical preparation. He looks like a triathlete right now, he’s very meticulous,” Tursunov added.

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