Reem’s Wimbledon Diary: Santana’s 50th, Rafa, Tomic apology

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  • Santana’s famous Wimbledon win is remembered plus Tomic's outburst.

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of Manolo Santana’s Wimbledon victory and the Spaniard met up with members of the press to look back at that iconic moment in the tournament’s history.

    Now the tournament director of the Madrid Open, played on clay in May each year, Santana was the first-ever Spaniard to capture the title at Wimbledon when he beat American Dennis Ralston in straight sets in the final.

    Chatting to a journalist from Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia at the All England Club, Santana points to his wrist watch saying: “This is the Rolex they gave me when I won.

    “It has my name engraved on the back and it shows me the days of the week in Castellano (Spanish). I wear it on special occasions and it has never stopped working.”

    Santana recalls his prize money at the time – it was before men’s tennis entered the professional era – was less than 20 pounds and he had to redeem it from the clothing store Lillywhites.

    “I took the metro on the day of the final because there was no official tournament transport at the time and the taxi was very expensive,” said Santana.

    “I got off at Southfields station and walked up to the tennis club with my bag and three racquets.”

    Oh how times have changed. There’s a fleet of Jaguars and Land Rovers transporting players, their coaches, families and even us journalists to and from the tennis club every day now and the singles champions each receive two million pounds.

    Nadal is not at Wimbledon as he nurses a wrist injury, but the Mallorcan paid tribute to Santana saying: “In Spain there are three or four sportsmen who are the forefathers that sowed the seeds for individual sport.

    “Manolo is, without a doubt, one of the most important. Together with Severiano Ballesteros and Angel Nieto, they set the path in Spanish sport. I wasn’t able to see him play, but my Uncle Toni did, and he always talked to me about him. Everyone in Spanish tennis is grateful to him for everything he did and still continues to do.”

    Bernie says sorry

    Meanwhile in the press conference room, Bernard Tomic had to apologise for making an inappropriate comment after his first round win over Fernando Verdasco.

    It is customary at Wimbledon that players arrive and leave the court together for their matches but that was not the case after one of the rain delays during Tomic’s opening round.

    “I think because he was up in the locker getting something taped on as when I left and I thought he was leaving, so I just happened to walk out. Yeah, I did get to the court prior to him very early, and unfortunately I had to stand on court like a retard,” Tomic said.

    There was understandable backlash over Tomic’s comments and the Aussie apologised after his second round win over Radu Albot.

    “Look, I apologize if I offended anyone. I’m sorry. It just came out the wrong way,” said Tomic.