the disappearance of the “leaping Basque” Jean Borotra in 1994

Died at the age of 95, in his home in Arbonne, near Biarritz, Jean-Robert Borotra will forever remain one of the Musketeers of tennis


Jean Borotra says leaping basque.

Agip

Exceptional champion in more ways than one, he will leave the memory of one of the greatest players of the heroic times of tennis, and in particular of French tennis. Born in the last century, on August 13, 1898, in Arbonne, near Biarritz, he held his first racket when he was just 12 years old. Five years later, he enlisted as a private, and was already an artillery lieutenant when the 1914-1918 war ended. This will not prevent him from entering Polytechnique…

Died at the age of 95, in his home in Arbonne, near Biarritz, Jean-Robert Borotra will forever remain one of the Musketeers of tennis

Jean Borotra says leaping basque.


Jean Borotra says leaping basque.

Agip

Exceptional champion in more ways than one, he will leave the memory of one of the greatest players of the heroic times of tennis, and in particular of French tennis. Born in the last century, on August 13, 1898, in Arbonne, near Biarritz, he held his first racket when he was just 12 years old. Five years later, he enlisted as a private, and was already an artillery lieutenant when the 1914-1918 war ended. This did not prevent him from entering Polytechnique in 1920, leaving in 1922 with an engineering degree, and at the same time leading a brilliant career as a tennis player.

Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and René Lacoste, for almost a decade from 1924 to 1933, reigned supreme on the most prestigious tennis courts in the world.


Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and René Lacoste, for almost a decade from 1924 to 1933, reigned supreme on the most prestigious tennis courts in the world.

AFP

When asked if he would have liked to devote himself entirely to his sport like today’s professionals, he answered: “Certainly not. I might have been stronger, but tennis wouldn’t have entertained me the way it did. What I liked was this exceptional side that he occupied in my activity. I mainly played on Saturday and Sunday, or else for tournaments. »

Wimbledon at more than 80 banks

He thus made an extraordinary record including 60 titles of champion of France, 8 titles at the French Open and 6 victories at Wimbledon, including 2 in singles (read elsewhere). From Wimbledon, where it is said that his car was the only one, along with that of King George V, authorized to reach the edge of the grounds, he became a legendary figure by participating well beyond the age of 80 in the tournament of veterans.

But it was above all the Davis Cup which contributed to the glory of this versatile sportsman, who also happily practiced fencing, football and athletics. Associated in the famous team of the Musketeers with Henri Cochet, Jacques Brugnon and René Lacoste, he indeed won the famous Saladier d’argent from 1927 to 1932, and still defended the colors of France in doubles in 1947.

The French double composed of Patrick Hughes and Jean Borotra received the Davis Cup final trophy in July 1933 at Roland-Garros in Paris.


The French double composed of Patrick Hughes and Jean Borotra received the Davis Cup final trophy in July 1933 at Roland-Garros in Paris.

AFP

Full of panache and combativeness, Endowed with a sparkling smash and a very effective if not very academic backhand, Jean Borotra still appeared, in 1960, on the list of participants in the main international tournaments when he presided over the destinies of the International Tennis Federation (1960-1961), where his action in favor of the creation of open tournaments and a new definition of amateurism was decisive. With age, his triggers had become a little less airy and he confessed, at 90, that he had ended up quitting due to osteoarthritis in his right hand.

If he was unanimous in the sports world, Jean-Robert Borotra found himself politically at the center of certain controversies. Commissioner General for Education and Sports from 1940 to 1942, he was arrested by the Gestapo before being sent for deportation (1942-1945). Later (1976-1980), he chaired the Association for the Defense of the Memory of Marshal Pétain.

Associations, Jean-Robert Borotra, who had a high idea of ​​sporting virtues, repeated many of them, both in France and internationally, such as the International Committee for Fair Play or the Sports Council of Unesco. A Gaullist deputy from 1968 to 1976, he campaigned with rare obstinacy in favor of forecasting competitions on the benches of the National Assembly, competitions finally instituted by… the second left-wing government, after 1981.

Jean Borotra was Commander of the Legion of Honor, military medal, medal of the escapees and medal of the deported-resistants.

He was the uncle of Franck Borotra, RPR deputy and president of the General Council of Yvelines, and Didier Borotra, CDS senator-mayor of Biarritz.

A man of tradition

“He was a man of tradition very attached to the Domaine du Pouy, the family manor where he often arrived, especially on the occasion of the holidays. And in the church, it always takes place in the second gallery, in the place reserved for his family”. These words, pronounced by Mattin Carrère, the priest of Arbonne, sum up quite well what was the life of Jean Borotra, who died Saturday morning in this village at the age of 96.
The former tennis champion always felt very close to this small town on the outskirts of Biarritz, whose name has been linked for several decades to that of the Borotra family, which still owns farms and land there. A family of which he was both the dean, the sage and for which he had remained, according to his nephew, the senator-mayor Didier Borotra, “the Patriarch”.
Among his friends were the mayor of the town, Beñat Abeberry, who yesterday afternoon made the traditional funeral visit to the house of the deceased “He was a great local figure, a real Basque who marked the century” , was to declare the latter. And to add: “Jean was a shepherd and defined himself as such. He liked to recall that he was a shepherd’s grandson. He was an extremely religious man, a devout Catholic, the eldest of four children, three boys and a girl who always poses very straight. But, for two years, we felt it declining.

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