Class of 1977
World No. 5 (1927)
Grand Slam Results
One-time Wimbledon finalist
Member of the Spanish Olympic Team at the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games
Member of the Spanish Davis Cup Team 1921, 1922, 1924, 1925, 1931, 1936
Overall Record: 14-11
Singles Record: 11-7
Doubles Record: 3-4
Until the great Manuel Orantes thumped Jimmy Connors in the 1975 US Open, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 and rose to No. 2 in the world, another Manuel – this one with the last name Alonso de Areyzaga – was Spain’s most prominent male tennis player. Manuel Alonso brought Spain much acclaim during his nearly two-decade playing career, one that saw him compete at the Olympic Games in 1920 and 1924.
Alonso had a slick western forehand and accomplished footwork, whether laterally moving on the baseline or approaching net. When he moved to the United States in 1923, he put those skills on display, leading him to a U.S. Top Ten ranking in 1925 and 1927 and a No.2 position in 1926. He earned world-ranking consideration as well, three years in the Top 10 (1925-1927).
Alonso made his mark by winning the Spanish Championships in 1915, 1919, and 1920. He also represented Spain on its Davis Cup Team six times, reaching the finals in 1922. In 1921, he made a concerted run toward winning the Gentlemen Singles title at Wimbledon, defeating Japan’s Zenzo Shimizu in five grueling sets, 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 before falling to South African Brian Norton in another monster five-setter in the finals, one that he led 2-0 in sets and lost, 5-7, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. Alonso had strong runs at the U.S. Nationals, reaching the quarterfinals four times (1922, 1923, 1925, 1927). He lost to William Johnston twice, Bill Tilden, and Rene Lacoste in those matches, but he was a pesky and stubborn out.
Alonso’s Olympic exploits led him to the 1920 quarterfinals at Antwerp, Belgium, losing to Britain’s Noel Trumbull. He returned to Olympic competition again in 1924, reaching to quarterfinals at Games played in Paris, France.
In his 1922 book, The Art of Lawn Tennis, Tilden wrote, “Seldom have I seen such wonderful natural abilities as found in this young Spaniard … His overhead is at once severe, deadly and reliable. He smashes with speed and direction.”
Wimbledon: F 1921
U.S. Nationals: QF 1922, 1923, 1925, 1927
Wimbledon: QF 1924
Wimbledon: SF 1921