Over the years, Americans have experienced some success at Roland Garros. Chris Evert holds the Open era mark with seven women’s singles titles, and among the men, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Jim Courier have all hoisted the La Coupe des Mousquetaires.
Surprisingly, the French have not had the same success at the US Open. In fact, for all the great players France has produced throughout the history of tennis, only two Frenchmen – the legendary Rene Lacoste and Henri Cochet – have ever stood alone at the end of America’s Grand Slam. Incredibly, no Frenchwoman has ever won the U.S. title.
Lacoste and Cochet, along with countrymen Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon (pictured above, with Cochet and Lacoste in the middle), comprised tennis’ legendary “Four Musketeers,” who dominated the sport in the late 1920s and early 30s. Between them, the four claimed 20 Grand Slam singles titles and 23 major doubles crowns. But Lacoste’s back-to-back wins at Forest Hills in 1926 (over Borotra) and 1927 (defeating Bill Tilden), followed by Cochet’s win in 1928 (over Francis T. Hunter), still stand as the only victories for the tricolor in the land of the red, white, and blue.
This mark is even more surprising considering the current state of French tennis. There were more Frenchmen (five) seeded at this year’s Roland Garros than that of any other country (Spain also had five) and three Frenchwomen advanced to the round of 16 and two to the quarterfinals. Moreover, French players have won Grand Slam titles in the Open era – two each for Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce, one for Yannick Noah, and Cedric Pioline was a two-time major finalist.
Yet, despite it all, only Lacoste and Cochet have broken through at the final Slam of the season. Two great champions, three consecutive U.S. crowns. One lengthy drought still waiting to be broken.