The Four Musketeers
The Four Musketeers (in French Les Quatre Mousquetaires) were four outstanding tennis players from France, given their name from the Alexandre Dumas book The Three Musketeers. They dominated the game of tennis in the second half of the 1920s and early 1930s, winning numerous Grand Slam titles. They also led France to six consecutive Davis Cup victories, 1927 through 1932, in the days in which Cup matches had a national importance equivalent to today's World Cup finals.
The Musketeers were:
- Jean Borotra (1898-1994), called "The Bounding Basque"
- Jacques Brugnon (1895-1978), called "Toto"
- Henri Cochet (1901-1987), called "The Ballboy of Lyons", at least by Time Magazine
- René Lacoste (1904-1996), called "The Alligator" or "The Crocodile"
Brugnon was primarily a doubles specialist, but the other three, Borotra, Cochet, and Lacoste, won many singles titles. Between them, they won 3 United States championships at Forest Hills, 6 consecutive Wimbledon titles from 1924 through 1929, and 10 titles in 11 years at the French Championships, 1922 through 1932. During this time the only player to challenge their dominance was the great American player Bill Tilden. Cochet and Lacoste had occasional victories over Tilden in 1926 and 1927 but Tilden was the undisputed number-one player in the world from 1920 until 1926, when Cochet took over that position. Lacoste was the World No. 1 player in 1926 and 1927, while Cochet held that position for the next three years, 1928 through 1930. The Musketeers were finally eclipsed by the arrival of Ellsworth Vines, Fred Perry, Jack Crawford, and Don Budge on the international tennis scene.
The four men were national icons in France and all of them lived to be at least 83 years old, basking in glory for many years after their retirement from tennis.