Andres Gimeno, oldest French Open champion, dies at 82


International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Monica Seles, left, reacts with fellow inductee Andres Gimeno of Spain, as they walk with their plaques during ceremonies in Newport, R.I. Saturday, July 11, 2009. (Elise Amendola / AP)

MADRID — 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, the 12-time French Open champion, said on Twitter that Gimeno "was without a doubt one of the pioneers of tennis in Spain."

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