Henri Cochet


Born: 14/12/1901 Died: 1/4/1987

World Hard Court (Clay) 1922

French Open 1926,1928,1930,1932

Wimbledon 1927,1929

US Open 1928

French Pro 1936

Henri Cochet was a magician on the tennis court. He frequently made impossible winners and was famous for his comeback wins from the dead. Bill Tilden rated Cochet the best half volleyer he'd ever seen. Cochet also had a good low volley and drop volley in addition to great footwork. Fred Perry based his game on Cochet's, taking the ball early to gain the advantage in the rally. Cochet developed his skills in Lyon, where his father was secretary of the local tennis club. At first he played alone hitting against a wall, something he felt was important in developing his game. Then he began playing his friends at the club. At the age of 20, Cochet won the 1922 World Hard Court championships, which was the top event on clay. At Wimbledon 1922 he made it through to the fourth round before losing to James Anderson in straight sets. In 1925 the French Championships opened its doors to international competitors for the first time and Cochet lost in the quarter finals. At Wimbledon that year he came from two sets to love down to beat John Hennessey in the quarters before losing to Jean Borotra in four sets. At the French Open in 1926 Cochet beat Vinnie Richards in the semis in straight sets before beating Rene Lacoste in the final in straight sets to take his first Grand Slam title. At Wimbledon he beat Richards in the second round and Colin Gregory in the quarters in five sets before losing a two set to one lead against Borotra in the semis. At the US Open Cochet caused a memorable win over Bill Tilden 8-6 in the fifth set in the quarters (it was Tilden's first defeat in the tournament since 1919). In the semis he led two sets to love against Lacoste before losing in five sets. At the French Open in 1927 Cochet lost to Tilden in straight sets in the semis. At Wimbledon he faced Tilden in the semis. Tilden won the first two sets and led 5-1 in the third set but then inexplicably lost the ability to get the ball in court and lost 17 straight points in a row to let Cochet back to 5-5. Cochet won the set 7-5 and went on to take the fourth and fifth sets to record a famous victory. In the final Cochet trailed two sets to love against Borotra but he fought back and saved six match points before winning 7-5 in the fifth set. In the Davis Cup France faced defending champions U.S. in the Challenge Round in Philadelphia. There was little to choose between the two teams and with the tie standing it 2 matches all, it was Cochet who held his nerve to beat Bill Johnston in four sets to win the cup for France for the first time. Cochet invariably won important Davis Cup matches and was one of the main reasons for the musketeers' success. The French held onto the cup until 1933, when a British team led by Fred Perry took it away from them. At the 1928 French Open Cochet beat Borotra in the semis in four sets before another four set win over Lacoste in the final. Lacoste gained his revenge in the Wimbledon final, winning in four sets. At the US Open Cochet beat Frank Shields in the semis in straight sets before coming from two sets to one down to beat Frank Hunter in the final. At the 1929 French Open Cochet lost in the semis to Borotra in five sets. Cochet was in blistering form at Wimbledon as he easily beat Tilden in the semis and Borotra in the final. At the 1930 French Open Cochet beat Tilden in the final in four sets. At Wimbledon that year he lost to Wilmer Allison in the quarters. At the French Open in 1932 Cochet beat Marcel Bernard in straight sets in the semis and Giorgio di Stefani in the final to take his seventh and last Grand Slam title. At the US Open Cochet beat Shields in the quarters and Allison from two sets to one down in the semis before losing in straight sets to Vines in the final. At the French Open in 1933 Cochet lost in the final to Jack Crawford in straight sets and at Wimbledon he lost in the semis to Vines in four sets. Cochet then turned professional but after the War he was reinstated as an amateur. This was an unprecedented move by the tennis authorities and indicative of Cochet's standing in the game. However, Cochet confined his appearances to French Covered court championships and did not enter any of the Grand Slam events. Like his fellow Musketeers, Cochet was a regular visitor to the French Championships. One or more of the Musketeers normally presented the men's singles trophy. This tradition continued right up until 1993, when Borotra last presented the trophy. Cochet died in 1987 at the age of 85.


HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: W.Allison 1-1, J.Anderson 0-1, M.Bernard 1-0, J.Borotra 3-3, J.Crawford 0-1, O.Froitzheim 1-0, C.Gregory 2-0, R.Lacoste 2-2, B.Tilden 4-1, E.Vines 0-2, S.Wood 1-0

PRO SLAM HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: H.Nusslein 0-1, B.Tilden 0-2

Henri Cochet's Grand Slam record

PRO SLAM RECORD 1936 French Pro 5 1937 French Pro 4 1937 British Pro 3 1939 French Pro 2

The Professional Tennis Archive