“LE CROCODILE”- René Lacoste

“LE CROCODILE” – René Lacoste

Born in Paris on 2 July 1904,René Lacoste had an extraordinary life. He was the number one ranked tennis player in the world in 1926 and 1927 and won seven Grand Slam tournaments, Wimbledon twice, the French Open three times and US Open twice. Lacoste built his tenacious game on his strength at the baseline, earning his nickname “le Crocodile”some at the time say due to his pointy nose and boldness on the court. Others say the name was derived as a result of a bet which Lacoste won where the stakes were a set of Crocodile suitcases he found in a store in Boston.

Lacoste created the world’s first tennis ball machine which he called “Lance-Balle” (Ball Toss) and was also the inventor of the very first metal tennis racket. In the United States, Lacoste’s metal tennis racket was marketed by Wilson Sporting Goods and achieved huge popularity as the Wilson T-2000 racket sold worldwide.

René Lacoste was married to professional French Golfer Simone de la Chaume and he also developed apolyurethane driver which was the catalyst to the introduction of composite material based golf clubs.

Despite these wonderful achievements, there is no doubt that Lacoste’s greatest claim is the enduring legacy of the Lacoste fashion label.

La Société Chemise Lacostewas established by René Lacoste alongwith his friend André GillieratTroyes in Northern France in 1933. They put the little reptilian logo on a white short sleeved tennis shirt and the rest is history. Now selling high-endclothing, footwear, leather goods, watches, perfume, eyewear, linens towels and of course the legendry tennis or polo shirt. Lacoste is now the 52nd largest company in France sitting between Kronenbourg Beer (51) and France Telecom (53) and the brand has a presence in 110 countries around the world.

René Lacoste died in the southern coastal town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz on 12 October 1996 aged 92, but the legend lives on today.

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