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Andres Gimeno

tennis player
Full name: Andres Tolaguera Gimeno
Alias: Tolaguera
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Bio Andrés Gimeno Tolaguera is a retired Spanish tennis player. His greatest achievement came in 1972,when he captured the French Open title in 1972 at age 34.Spain’s Andrés Gimeno became the oldest ever to win at Roland Garros. Securing that title was a fitting capstone to a superb career. An authentic craftsman with terrific ground strok es and extraordinary strategic acumen, Gimeno was one of the finest professionals of the 1960s.

Andres came from a family that loved tennis and his father Esteban supported him to play tennis. Esteban had been a good tennis player and he became Andres' coach. They practiced at Real Club de Tenis Barcelona. At an early age Andres started to become a really good tennis player, winning some important tournaments in his region. At age sixteen he won the U-18 Championship of Spain. In 1954 he won the Championship of Spain in the doubles’ category playing with Juan Manuel Couder. At the same time, he stopped studying to focus on his tennis’ career.

He was a successful tennis player in Spain, but also represented his country throughout Europe. He played in the Galea's Cup, the European Championship U21, and won it in 1956 and 1957. He was the runner-up in 1958. After that, he decided to go to Australia to play with the man who was considered the best tennis coach in the world, Harry Hopman. He increased his tennis level and soon, he had two important victories in the championships in Perth and in Sidney.

Gimeno went back to Spain in 1960 where he then did his best year as an amateur, winning the titles in Barcelona, Caracas, Montecarlo, and Queen's. In Barcelona, he became the first Spanish player to win the Torneo Conde de Godó, beating the Italian player Giuseppe Merlo. That same year he reached the doubles final too, but failed to win in that category, losing to an Australian duo in the final. After that year, he joined the professional group “World Championship Tennis”, where Jack Kramer offered him $50,000 for three years, and more money for each victory. The group consisted of some of the best tennis players in history such as Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzalez, Ken Rosewall. Gimeno won the World Championship in 1966, beating Rod Laver in five sets and the same tournament in doubles. He also won the Netherlands' Open, the Madison Square Garden's Championship in 1969, the Dakar and Hamburg in 1971.

His Grand Slam's results came in 1968 when the Open Era started and the professional could participate in Grand Slams. His first good result was the final in Australian Open in 1969, where he lost to Rod Laver in three sets.

Andres Gimeno's best year was in 1972 when he was a finalist in Brussels and in Paris, and he won in Los Angeles, in Eastbourne, in Gstaad, and the French Open. The Catalan won his first and only Grand Slam in 1972. He holds the record for the oldest male player to win the French Open (at the age of 34). In the final, he beat the French player Patrick Proisy in four sets (4–6, 6–3, 6–1, 6–1). In addition, he reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon. In 1973 he reached the final in Hilversum, where Tom Okker beat him in five sets.

Gimeno was an active Davis Cup player, recording an 18–5 singles record and 5–5 his doubles record. His debut was in the match that Spain played against Egypt with one of the most important players in Spain, Manuel Santana. He couldn’t play the competition while he was a part of the professional group, but he participated as coach in 1966. In 1973 he got injured his meniscus and decided to quit playing tennis. He became the tennis coach in the RFET, Tennis’ Spanish Federation and then in the Suisse Federation.

After his professional career, he decided to join the tennis circuit for retired players called Legends Championship. He also founded a tennis club in 1974 called "Club de Tenis Andres Gimeno" in Castelldefels, Barcelona. Gimeno was always attracted to journalism once he hung up the racket and was a television commentator as well as a columnist for MARCA in the 1990s. He also worked as tennis commentator in Television Espanola and in Telecinco, both Spanish televisions.

He was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009, becoming the fourth Spanish tennis player in it, after Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Manuel Alonso and Manuel Santana.

Gimeno died due to a pancreatic cancer against which he battled for a long time on October 9, 2019.
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