Andres Gimeno, the Spanish tennis player who became the oldest man to win the French Open in the professional era, has died. He was 82.
The Spanish tennis federation says Gimeno died Wednesday following a long illness.
Gimeno was 34 years and 301 days old when he won the French Open in 1972, beating Patrick Proisy in the final.
He had made the Australian Open final three years earlier but lost to Rod Laver.
Rafael Nadal leads the tributes
Nineteen times grand slam champion Rafael Nadal was among those to pay tribute to Gimeno.
"I've just been given the sad news of the death of Andres Gimeno, who was without doubt one of the pioneers of tennis in Spain," Nadal wrote on Twitter.
"I send my condolences to his family. RIP."
Acaban de comunicarme la triste noticia del fallecimiento de #AndresGimeno. Sin duda uno de los pioneros del tenis en España y un gran deportista. Un sentido saludo a su familia. D.E.P.— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) October 9, 2019
Others from around the tennis world also paid tribute.
Andres Gimeno, Spanish tennis star & barnstorming pro , dead at age 82. Won 1972 French Open (photo), becoming oldest first-time major men's singles champ at age 34. Beat Stan Smith along the way & in final young Frenchman Patrick Proisy. Lost 1969 Australian Open final to Laver pic.twitter.com/JJqUPiRP2N— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) October 9, 2019
Andrés Gimeno, Roland-Garros champion in 1972, has passed away today. We would like to express our deepest condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/E6g2Jt2YW3— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) October 9, 2019
The thoughts of the ITF are with the family and friends of Andres Gimeno, who has passed away aged 82— ITF (@ITF_Tennis) October 9, 2019
In 1972, the Spaniard became the oldest Roland Garros men's singles champion of the Open era at the age of 34 years, 10 months - a record that stands to this day https://t.co/78AX3QOWYT
Do you know Andrés Gimeno?, he was an spanish professional tennis player, who has died today in Barcelona. In 1972 he won Roland Garros when he was 34 years old and he became the oldest player in open area to win the tournament.— Ana Ortuño (@AOrtuno) October 9, 2019
Rest in peace dear Andrés😪.
Here with Rod Laver. pic.twitter.com/SZ7XYhQIwe
Remembering an accomplished champion and dedicated pioneer of our sport in Spain. His early success and passion for tennis inspired what would become one of the world’s great tennis nations. 🇪🇸— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) October 9, 2019
Our condolences to the family, many friends, and fans of Hall of Famer Andrés Gimeno. pic.twitter.com/nyIoMmgzIp
Andrés Gimeno, renowned Spanish tennis player, dies at the age of 82— Moises Lopez (@chapoisat) October 9, 2019
He raised the cup of Roland Garros in 1972, thus becoming the oldest tennis player to win the prestigious trophy, at the age of 34 years and 10 months, he also won four other titles of the ATP circuit. pic.twitter.com/8mezvP4ITX