Novak Djokovic or Barbora Krejčíková remain among the big names of the fortnight of French Open thanks to their victory this weekend. On the occasion of the winners’ triumphs, each of them received a cup in each of their categories. A look back at the prestige of these trophies, designed by the House of Mellerio in 1979.
With French Open now behind us, the trophies were all given to the great winners of the Grand Slam tournament. Whether in singles or doubles, the honor of receiving a trophy symbolizes one’s talent on clay and is priceless to the players. But this tradition has not always been in place, especially at the very beginning of the tournament.
Prior to 1953, there were no cups or financial rewards: winners received only simple rewards such as vouchers for clothing and equipment. Later on, the situation changed and the winners received a medal. In the 1950s, trophies were awarded to the winners, before being modernized in 1979 and the appearance of the cups we know today.
Philippe Chatrier, president of the French Tennis Federation at the time, entrusted the task of designing these new cups to the Maison Mellerio. This famous Parisian jeweler has been working in the sector since the 17th century, and was responsible for many hallmarks under Louis XIV or Louis XV, as well as more recently for the Golden Ball of soccer.
THE MUSKETEERS’ CUP
This cup, the most famous of all, is the one given to the winner of the men’s singles tournament, and is named after the “Four Musketeers” of French tennis: René Lacoste, winner of French Open in 1925 and founder of the famous crocodile brand, Jean Borotra, winner in 1931 and nicknamed the “bouncing Basque”, Henri Cochet, musketeer who won the most singles titles, and Jacques Brugnon, a doubles tennis specialist.
In 1979 and 1980, the cup looked like a funeral vase, which did not please the tennis community. In 1981, the current trophy appeared, made of 92.5% pure silver and weighing 14 kilos. The cup is made of a silver bowl decorated at the top with a vine leaf frieze and two swan neck handles. The trophy is mounted on a marble base bearing the names of the winners since the first edition of the tournament. Rafael Nadal is the one who has lifted the cup the most times, with a record of 12 victories.
THE SUZANNE-LANGLEN CUP
Since 1979, the winner of the women’s singles has been awarded the Suzanne-Langlen Cup, named after one of the greatest French tennis players. The six-time winner of French Open, the woman who was nicknamed “the Divine”, has been honored with many tributes in addition to the cup: a court at French Open is named after her, as well as a tramway station in the Paris region, sports halls and avenues throughout France.
This 10 kg pure silver cup is given for the first time to Chris Evans, who, like Nadal in the men’s game, holds the record for most triumphs at Roland Garros, with 7 wins.
THE JACQUES BRUGNON CUP
As a doubles specialist, it is only logical that the men’s doubles cup should bear the name of Jacques Brugnon, one of the four musketeers of tennis. Created in 1989, this trophy features appliques and its foot is decorated with recurrent embossed ornaments called gadroons.
THE SIMONNE-MATHIEU CUP
The Simonne-Mathieu Cup was created in 1990 as a tribute to the player of the same name who won many titles in the 1930s. This round trophy is decorated with two small swan-shaped handles and water leaf moldings.
THE MARCEL-BERNARD CUP
Established in 1990, the Marcel-Bernard Cup rewards the winning team of the mixed doubles of Roland Garros. Oval in shape, the trophy includes turned and inserted moldings, a chiseled frieze and two handles. The cup honors Marcel Bernard, winner of French Open in 1946, then president of the French Tennis Federation from 1968 to 1973.
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Featured photos : © Getty Images
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