The French Connection

Factlets from the French Open…


The first French Championships took place in 1891 (long before it was ‘open’). Only 5 people took part in the tournament, and the winner was an Englishman, H. Briggs. No-one seems to know his first name, nor can I find a photo of him…so here’s a pic of Rafa instead…



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The winner in 1892 was Jean Schopfer…

Jean Schopfer
Jean Schopfer


…who later wrote a book,  Ariane, jeune fille russe, under the pen-name Claude Anet. In 1957, Billy Wilder produced and directed a film based on the book, called Love in the Afternoon, which starred Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn and Maurice Chevalier.


The cast of the film did not include Rafa…

Rafa in civvies

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Max Decugis won 8 times between 1903-1914…

Max Decugis
Max Decugis

…a record now equalled by Rafa…


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The Four Musketeers was the nickname given to the four Frenchmen who dominated world tennis in the late 1920s and early 1930s – Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, René Lacoste and Henri Cochet. Between them they won 20 Grand Slam Singles titles and 23 Grand Slam Doubles.


France's Four Musketeers - Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet, René Lacoste and Jean Borotra
France’s Four Musketeers – Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet, René Lacoste and Jean Borotra


It’s in their honour that the current crop of top French players are called The New Musketeers – Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils.


The New Musketeers - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet
The New Musketeers – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet


However, despite featuring regularly in the Top 20, the four of them combined have won fewer Grand Slams than Rafa…


rafa 2010

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The current Mens Singles Champion is…

rafa winner 2013 2


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However, as a good Scotswoman, of course I’ll be supporting…

andy murray

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Enjoy the French Open!


38 thoughts on “The French Connection

  1. Hmm. Is it a bit rude, provocative and turning a man into a mere sex-object to say. Phwaooor.

    I’m sorry. I shall fill a bath with iced water and go and lie down in it. Or failing that, just go out and get coldly rained on, as is happening.

    But still Phwaoor. Those arms, that smile…………but please, isn’t it time to resuscitate your most popular post of all time with that Vamos Rafa video?

    Oh, and thank you, hastily rearranging face so a leering drool is not unattractively plastered upon it, those facts about the French Open were Really Interesting. No they really were

    Now i must go, as I notice this post does link to the Vamos Rafa one………..

  2. FictionFan – Such a knowledgeable and informative post about the history of tennis! I am most impressed with the fact that your post is devoted only to the game itself, the strategies involved and so on, and not in the least to the taking advantage of an opportunity to show gratuitous ‘photos of handsome players. 😉

  3. I’d say the four musketeers don’t really look fierce. Especially the old ones.

    You know, it was kinda cool how everything kept coming back to Rafa. *laughing* Is that your nickname for him? For as I hunted about, I found that he goes by a lot of different names, you know. None of which seem to be Rafa.

    And he’s wearing a watch on the right hand. It’s not acceptable.

    • Yes, they just look…old. But the new ones can look very cool – it was mean of me to use that photo really.

      Oh? I’m too frightened to ask what other people call him, but if it’s rude, it’s just because they’re soooo jealous.

      But he’s a leftie…and anyway, if Rafa does something, it’s automatically cool…

      • Oh, how wonderful, not only does he have that lovely smile but his politics being admirable, too, isn’t that wonderful!.

        PS I’M a leftie, but i wear MY watch on my left hand

        • All these years and I never knew you’re a leftie! But now you know it’s much cooler to wear your watch on your right hand, I’m sure you’ll be changing…

      • FictionFan JFYI Rafa is not a leftie. He only uses his left hand to play tennis, but for everything else he uses his right hand. The story goes back to when he begun to play tennis as a child with his uncle and coach. If you ever see him signing you will find out that he uses his right hand.

        • How unusual! And yet even as I was typing that he was a leftie, I was thinking that I was sure I’d seen him use his right hand too and wondering if he was maybe ambidextrous. His uncle seems to have been such a huge influence on him from a really young age. Thanks for the info, Jose Ignacio! 🙂

        • *chuckles* Wicked C-W-W!

          Zez? Zez? Is that you? What are you doing impersonating the Professor?

          Ah, that explains why you’re so creative! I’m a rightie… *pouts*

          • You’re just as wicked! You chose it, don’t forget, madam.

            You know, I think he’s smaller than Tuppence. What do you make of that?

            Nothing to pout about, really! Righties have all sorts of cool attributes.

            • Yes, but only because you’ve made me wicked…

              A pocket-sized, gurgling, orange goblin, eh? Every girl’s dream really…

              Such as?

            • That can’t be right… *scratches head a bit*

              But not the professors.

              Uhh…I was out looking about. I can’t find the right site. Let’s see. If you’re left-handed the right side of your brain is dominant. It’s the other way around for lefties. So, if you’re right handed, one of the coolest attributes is that the left side of your brain is dominant? I don’t know. It’s all very befuddling. I did study this some time ago. I give up.

            • Hmm, that doesn’t sound like the most exciting attribute in the world, I must say. Not easy to introduce into idle chit-chat while at a party with loads of artists and writers banging on about their latest creations – “Yes, but did you know the left side of my brain is dominant?” Hmm – bit of a conversation stopper really…

    • Haha! You had me completely fooled there…till I got your e-mail. I was wondering how you could possibly know – were you secretly a government agent with access to information denied to the rest of us! 😆

  4. I have to admit for the first couple of pictures I wondered where this post was leading to… I’ve got it now! Thanks for making me smile FF along with all your wonderful commenters. 🙂

    • Haha! Glad you enjoyed it! Yes, some of the commenters were around last year, so know my tennis posts have an amazing tendency to contain pics of Rafa – purely coincidental, of course… 😉

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