Determined Champion

How René Lacoste followed his dream and forged his career.

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Foolproof Technique

René Lacoste's unflagging determination served his winning technique: study the game and his opponents to better exhaust and beat them. "Hit the ball, push back whatever happens, perfect the smash with a tensed, bent arm". A perfectionist, he noted down his every move, which led to his 1928 book, Tennis. A veritable handbook for victory.

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US CHAMPIONSHIP IN FOREST HILLS, 1927. © LACOSTE FAMILY ARCHIVES. CATHERINE LACOSTE COLLECTION

The creator of the polo

How René Lacoste revolutionized fashion and the tennis lifestyle in the 1920s.

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Stroke of Genius

Before Lacoste, tennis meant long-sleeve shirts, pleated trousers and belted waists. René Lacoste put comfort front and centre; early on he understood the need for clothing adapted to the task. Defying conventions, he shortened the sleeves of a typical tennis shirt to create the first comfortable polo. For the first time designs were embroidered with a signature crocodile, making them instantly recognizable.

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1933, RENÉ LACOSTE, CAPTAIN OF THE FRENCH TEAM, ADVISES JACQUES BRUGNON AND JEAN BOROTRA. © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Start of the Sporting Lifestyle

Soon, René Lacoste was dressing friends and family in the polo shirt during international matches. Well ahead of his time, he designed the modern wardrobe: light, adaptable and highly desirable. The Lacoste fundamentals were firmly established.

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1933, RENÉ LACOSTE, CAPTAIN OF THE FRENCH TEAM, ADVISES JACQUES BRUGNON AND JEAN BOROTRA. © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The astute inventor

How René Lacoste brought his ideas vividly to life.

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The man behind the metal racket

His mantra? Never give up. René Lacoste had a million ideas to improve his game and make practice more comfortable – and it’s these that made him such a unique player. From the start, he sculpted the handle of his racket and covered it with surgical tape to get a better grip. Then he came up with a lighter and easier to handle racket: the metal racket.

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RENÉ LACOSTE INVENTED THE TENNIS BALL LAUNCHER MACHINE IN 1927. © KEYSTONE

The restless inventor

The more he practiced, the more his ideas sparked. He continued to innovate, filing more than thirty patents over his lifetime. Among his famous inventions: a machine that fires tennis balls with calibrated force to help a player practice alone. Inventions that improved his game as well as that of all the generations of tennis players that followed.

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RENÉ LACOSTE INVENTED THE TENNIS BALL LAUNCHER MACHINE IN 1927. © KEYSTONE

Want to find out more?

Everything you always wanted to know about Lacoste but were afraid to ask.

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