Who Were the Four Musketeers?
I know what you’re thinking. The title of this blog should be Who Were the Three Musketeers? Well, you’d be right if you were referring to the classic Alexandre Dumas film from the 1920s. But, if you are referring to the most dominant group of French tennis players in the 1920’s and 30’s then the number of musketeers is in fact four!
The Four Musketeers which included Henri Cochet, René Lacoste, Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon domated tennis for much of the 1920’s and 30’s. In fact they won three US Open Championships, six consecutive Wimbledon titles from 1924 through 1929, and 10 titles in 11 years at the French Championships. Additionally, from 1926 to 1930 one of the musketeers was ranked number one in the world, and in 1926 and 1927 all four musketeers were ranked in the world top 10. Talk about Legacy.
But wait there’s more.
The four musketeers played the Davis Cup together for the first time in 1923. At the time, the Davis Cup was on the level of the Super Bowl or the World Cup that we all know and love today. For four straight years, they reached the tournament finals losing twice to both Australia and the United States. But in 1927 that all changed. They eventually conquered the Davis Cup trophy, defeating the US team in Philadelphia. This triumph on US soil led the to the French Tennis Federation establishing a new tennis venue: Roland Garros.
The current French Open trophy is aptly named, Coupe des Mousquetaires (The Musketeers' Trophy).
The son of a groundskeeper, Coche grew up as a ballboy at his local French tennis club which allowed him the chance to practice his new found love; tennis.
All of that practice paid off as Coche achieved the world number one ranking in 1928 which he remained till 1931. Throughout his career, Cochet won a total of 53 singles titles. Those included five French Open titles, two Wimbledon titles and one US Open title. Also a great doubles player, Coche won 8 grand slam double titles in his career.
One of the most popular members of the Four Musketeers, Lacoste is equally well known for his amazing tennis play as he is for his global tennis brand, Lacoste.
Rene Lacoste was the number one player in the world during 1926 and again during the 1927 season. Overall, he managed to win seven singles titles and three doubles titles. In 1927 and 1928, he was part of the France Davis Cup team.
"The Bounding Basque,” as Jean Borotra was known, was one of the top players of his time, ranking as high as number two in the world at one point.
"The Bounding Basque,” won 69 titles and 19 Grand Slams over his illustrious career. Borotra is honored yearly by the International Fair Play Committee which hands out the “Jean Borotra World Fair Play Trophy.”
Jacques "Toto" Brugnon, considered to be one of the best doubles players to ever grace the game, was the French Davis Cup Captain for six years. In 1921, Brugnon captured his only Grand Slam title at the French Open.
Also a great doubles player, he won ten Grand Slam titles and two Mixed Doubles with the famous Suzanne Lenglen, who has a court named after her at the Roland Garros complex which was inspired by the “Four Musketeers”.
The Four Musketeers, Not Three!
So the next time you turn on Roland Garros, make sure to remember the foundation that French Tennis was built on; the Four Musketeers!