Jean Borotra (France)

Jean Borotra, (France) one of the legendary "Four Musketeers" of French Tennis (Lacoste, Cochet, Borotra and Brugnon), who had won Roland Garros in 1931, Wimbledon in 1924 and 1926, and helped his country snatch the glorious Davis Cup from the US in 1927 and keep it for 6 consecutive years , + 14 Slam doubles titles, came to Lebanon in 1951, aged 53 years old (he was still playing the Davis Cup for France at the age of 49 in 1947), and played a series of matches in Beirut (Stade du Chayla, Club français DTL) and the mountain resorts, particularly against the then Lebanese no 1 player, Elie Attieh who managed to grab only a few games all in all.

Borotra served as Minister (Education and Sports) in Vichy with Maréchal Pétain befor leaving the régime in protest against its internal policies too subservient to Nazi Germany. He was arrested by the Germans. Borotra will still be capable of winning doubles tournaments and mixed international titles well into his fifties.

  • The 4 French musketeers of tennis were René Lacoste (the father of the famous "crocodile"emblazoned polo cotton tennis shirt, Cochet, Borotra, and Jacques Brugnon, a doubles specialist.Of the four legendary stars of the French team that brought the Davis Cup to their country for six consecutive years 1927 to 1932), only Lacoste did not visit Lebanon (Brugnon had come on private visits after World War II)

  • Elie Attieh, a buoyant, outgoing sunny character, was one of the best Lebanese players for almost 20 years, heading the rankings after his nemesis N Hajjar had gone to the USA for his Ph D in Economics. Attieh, a carefree net attacker would always lead in his finals matches vs Hajjar, thanks to his swift volleys, often by two sets to love, only to yield as his stamina faltered against the patience, precision and defence of his opponent.

Colin Long (Australia) who will win 4 Mixed doubles titles at the Australian Championships between 1940 and 1948, was stationed in Beirut with the ANZACS military force between 1942 and 1944, and played a series of matches with Lebanese nationally ranked tennismen (Nadim Majdalany, Nadim Hajjar, Labib Majdalany, etc.) and also Roland Carter of GB.
Borotra after his Match in Beirut

Henri Cochet

Henri Cochet, a French Tennis musketeer with 4 Roland Garros singles titles, 2 Wimbledon (1927-1929) and one US + a brilliant Davis Cup record (see below Borotra), visited Lebanon in 1935, invited by the famous journalist Georges Naccache, and played a number of matches in Beirut (Stade Armand du Chayla) and Aley and Sofar in the mountains. His Lebanese opponents in Beirut, Tripoli and Saïda were Henri Pharaon, Labib Majdalany, Roger Bambacari (a French player from Nice who resided in Lebanon), Michel Farah, Henri Roux and Ernest Farah.

Henri Cochet
Cochet and Borotra at Wimbeldon
Borotra Volleys VS Attieh at the Stad du Chayla
Cochet with the great Bill Tilden at Wimbeldon