To evoke Lacoste, “the crocodile brand”, means recounting the destiny of a graphic emblem, which, through its simplicity and visibility, has proved to be exceptionally efficient. However, the logo alone would not explain the brand’s success and renown if it wasn’t based on a legitimate truth: the qualities of accomplished sportsman René Lacoste (July 2nd, 1904 – october 12th, 1996).
In 1922, René Lacoste played his first international tournaments to become France’s tennis champion at the age of 18. He continued winning and in 1923 became friends with three other talented players: Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet … with whom he created the famous team known as the “Musketeers”. Teammates for the first time in 1923 to represent France in the Davis Cup, the Musketeers finally won the prestigious trophy in 1927 … and renewed the exploit five years running until 1932! During this period, René Lacoste also won the French open three times and both Wimbledon and the Us open twice in singles!
Although he stopped competing in 1930 to dedicate himself to his family and business career, René Lacoste kept his eyes on the courts. His interest for tennis remained intact, inciting him to create inventions, which revolutionized sports. We are thinking, of course, of the “L1212” polo shirt, which let players, put aside their button-down shirts with cuff links and collar for a new comfort, which improved their on-court performances. A small revolution that helped establish and maintain the brand’s notoriety around the world!
The idea of optimizing tennis rackets’ maneuverability by bandaging the handles was one of his innovations in the 20’s. Later on in the decade, he invented the first training machine that launched balls with calibrated force. in 1960, with his son François, he conceived the anti-vibration disk for racket strings and around 1963, he introduced the first metal racket with a round head and double shaft.
Largely distributed in the United States, this racket won 46 Grand slam tournament titles from 1966 to 1978. In 1974 René Lacoste, never lacking in ideas, developed the “dumper”, a piece of polyurethane, which absorbs vibrations. In 1977 he introduced “super Control” strings and in 1988 the Equijet racket.
A tireless inventor, René Lacoste was working on a new type of ball just before his death in 1996.
it is enough to say that the brand’s vitality is anchored in a real, concrete history, a true passion between a man and his sport. A passion shared by other great players who marked tennis history under the crocodile emblem.
We can mention Arthur Ashe, the first African-American tennis player to win a Grand slam tournament, winning no less than five tournaments and beating Björn Borg, Tom okker, and Jimmy Connors in 1975. An achievement never equalled to this day!
Some years earlier, Rod Laver proudly claimed four Grand slam victories. Having won over sixty-five tournaments, he imposed himself as one of the professional tennis’ references during the mid sixties. He was certainly a model for Arnaud Boetsch, a young, promising player in 1985, as well as Guy Forget, holder of three Davis Cup victories, without forgetting Andy Roddick, ranked N°1 worldwide in 2003 and whose serve was one of the fastest in professional tennis (249,4 km/h). A prestigious story which continues to be written today…
Even recently, samantha stosur’s victory at the 2011 Us open and the entrance of Richard Gasquet in the top 10 in 2012 confirm the privileged links between the game’s biggest champions and the crocodile brand. A prestigious story with long-term perspectives…