Christian Boussus

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Christian Boussus
Christian Boussus 1927.jpg
Christian Boussus in 1927
Full name Jacques Christian Boussus
Country (sports)  France
Born (1908-03-05)5 March 1908
Hyères, France
Died August 2003 (aged 95)[1]
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Turned pro 1926 (amateur tour)
Retired 1953
Plays Left-handed[2] (1-handed backhand)
Highest ranking No. 9 (1930, A. Wallis Myers)[3]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 4R (1928, 1935)
French Open F (1931)
Wimbledon SF (1928)[2]
US Open 4R (1928, 1931)
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open F (1932)[4]
Wimbledon QF (1929)[5]
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian Open W (1935)[2]
French Open F (1938)
Wimbledon QF (1938)[6]

Christian Boussus (5 March 1908 – August 2003) was a left-handed French tennis player who found success in the 1920s and 1930s.

Tennis career

He started playing amateur tennis in the late 1920s by entering one of his first tournaments at the age of 17 in the 1926 edition of The French Covered Courts tournament in doubles, which he won by teaming up with French veteran René Lacoste.[7] He was the runner-up at the Pacific South-west Championship in 1928[8](lost to fellow Frenchman Henri Cochet) although he won the mixed title trophy alongside American Anne Harper.[9] The same year he won his first outdoor doubles title in Düsseldorf pairing Davis Cup teammate Jean Borotra.[10] He won his first singles championships in 1929.[11] He was on the victorious French team at the Davis Cup four times, in 1929, 1930, 1931, and 1932, although he never played.[1][12] The members of the team became known as the "Four Musketeers" and Boussus was the "Fifth Musketeer".[13] He finally got his chance to play at the Davis cup in 1934, when the Four Musketeers had retired. During World War II in 1941 in Vichy France he won the unofficial French Open doubles title partnering Bernard Destremau, a feat that is unrecognized by the ITF.[14] The same year he starred in a movie called "L'Appel du stade".[15] After the war he became the captain of the French Davis Cup Team between 1949–1952[16] and vice-captain from 1953.[17] In the very first year of his leadership France reached the final of the 1949 Davis Cup for the first time in 15 years. In club level team competitions he represented Racing Club de France of Paris.[18]

Christian Boussus (left) and Vivian McGrath (center) enter the center court of the White City Stadium in Sydney, Australia in November 1934

Boussus was defeated in the finals of the 1931 French Championships by Jean Borotra. In 1932, he and Marcel Bernard were defeated in the doubles finals of the French Championships by Henri Cochet and Jacques Brugnon.[4] He played twice the Australian Championships, in 1928 and 1935, and won the mixed doubles that year, his only Grand Slam title. He competed in the French Championships nineteen times between 1927 and 1953, which is the third most appearances in history right after Fabrice Santoro (20) and Francois Jauffret (20).[19] Boussus twice won the German Championships in Hamburg (1930, 1931) and the British Hard Court Championships on one occasion (1931).[20][7] He was ranked number one French tennis player four times in a row in the consecutive years of 1934,[21] 1935,[2] 1936[22] and 1937.[23]

Boussus was ranked World No. 9 in 1930 and 1935 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph, and the European No. 6 in 1931 (the latter by "Züricher Sport" newspaper).[3][5][24]

Playing style

At the peak of his career in 1932 his play was observed by Great Britain's then active Davis Cup player Nigel Sharpe who described him as the greatest French left-hander in the following manner: "He relies upon an all-round game with volleying as his forte. There is nothing of hurricane speed in his game. He takes the ball on the rise and hist his forehand with an easy swing and without much topspin. He gets good pace in this stroke and usually relies upon it as the forerunner of a volleying campaign[…]His backhand is of the cut variety but although putting so much slice on it he does not let it stop him from hitting it pretty hard. This stroke, of course, has its limitations, as it is distinctly difficult to make good passing shots against an agile volleyer. This wing is Boussus' chief weakness[…] (he) is able to make his volley down the line with great speed[..]but does not use his wrist quite so much". He further analysed his service game and found it be most unorthodox. Boussus completely omitted to swing his racquet behind his head while serving making his serves rather ineffective. Although this style was useful in overhead smashes when accuracy is more important than the speed. With this type of serve he also put a great spin to the ball and kept it relatively low.[7] Later in his career he adapted to baseline play and utilized a series of dropshots in his games.[25]

Personal life

In his student ages he studied advertising.[26] His 1930 season was interrupted because he had to fulfill his military service.[7] While playing amateur tennis he worked as a tire salesman in the mean time.[27] Later he was appointed the Director of Communications for IBM France.[13] Apart from his tennis playing style he is known as the first man to wear shorts instead of pants on court.[28][29] He was in a civil partnership with French parfume designer Germaine Cellier with whom he lived together for 30 years until she died in 1976.[30] He died at the age of 95, the last surviving Musketeer.[13] He had a brother Roland, also amateur tennis player, with whom he won the doubles title of the Le Touquet Spa Championships in 1937, while also winning the singles and mixed contest as well.[31]

Grand Slam finals

Singles (1 runner-up)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1931 French Championships Clay France Jean Borotra 6–2, 4–6, 5–7, 4–6

Doubles (1 runner-up)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1932 French Championships Clay France Marcel Bernard France Henri Cochet
France Jacques Brugnon
4–6, 6–3, 5–7, 3–6

Mixed doubles (1 titles, 1 runner-up)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1935 Australian Championships Grass Australia Louie Bickerton Australia Birdie Bond
South Africa Vernon Kirby
1–6, 6–3, 6–3
Runner-up 1938 French Championships Clay Australia Nancye Wynne Bolton France Simonne Mathieu
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dragutin Mitić
6–2, 3–6, 4–6


  1. ^ a b Alexis Brézet, ed. (20 August 2003). "Disparition de Christian Boussus" [Christian Boussus is gone]. Le Figaro. Paris, France: Dassault Group. ISSN 0182-5852. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Net Matches opens here tomorrow". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, United States: Paul Block. 9 (33): 12. 7 September 1935. ISSN 1068-624X. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Big Bill Tilden is Second Only to Henri Cochet", The Montreal Gazette, 27 November 1930.
  4. ^ a b "Tennis in France". Evening Post. Wellington, New Zealand: Blundell Bros Limited. 113 (126): 10. 30 May 1932. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  5. ^ a b Béla Kehrling, ed. (1 October 1931). "Külföldi hírek" [International news] (PDF). Tennisz és Golf. III (in Hungarian). Budapest, Hungary: Egyesült Kő-, Könyvnyomda, Könyv- és Lapkiadó Rt. 18–19: 377. Retrieved 25 January 2012. Béla Kehrling, ed. (10 July 1929). "Wimbledon, 1929" (PDF). Tennisz és Golf. I (in Hungarian). Budapest, Hungary: Bethlen Gábor írod. és Nyomdai R.-T. 5: 118. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  6. ^ "Budge's title; Convincing victory; Straight sets" (PDF). The Argus. Melbourne, Australia: Argus Office (28, 661): 16. 2 July 1938. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d Nigel Sharpe (20 March 1932). "Boussus – France's great left-hander". The Straits Times. Singapore, Straits Settlements: Straits Times Press (14): 3. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  8. ^ "International Tennis". Evening Post. Wellington, New Zealand: Blundell Bros Limited. 106 (75): 5. 8 October 1928. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Frenchmen victors". Evening Post. Wellington, New Zealand: Blundell Bros Limited. 106 (75): 9. 9 October 1928. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  10. ^ "International tennis". Auckland Star. Auckland, New Zealand. 59 (173): 7. 24 July 1928. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  11. ^ Paul Dupuy, ed. (13 August 1929). "Boussus remporte son premier championnat" [Boussus gains his first championship title]. Miroir des sports. Paris, France: Le Petit Parisien Press Group. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  12. ^ ITF (2010). "2010 Davis Cup Media Guide" (PDF). Nicosia, Cyprus: Cyprus Tennis Association. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
  13. ^ a b c "Participations célèbres" [Famous participants]. (in French). Bagnères-de-Bigorre, France: Club de Bagnères-de-Bigorre. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
  14. ^ "Presentation". Paris, France: Racing Club de France. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
  15. ^ Roger-Viollet (September 1941). "L'Appel du stade". Paris, France: Retrieved 2012-09-17.
  16. ^ "Finale Coupe Davis Melbourne 2001". Paris, France: Fédération Française de Tennis. 2001. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
  17. ^ Arthur Shakespeare, ed. (21 May 1953). "Rosewall wins in Paris". The Canberra Times. Canberra, Australia: Federal Capital Press of Australia. 27 (8, 028): 6.
  18. ^ Marie-Hélène Roukhadzé. "Jean Borotra" (PDF). The Witnesses. Los Angeles, United States: LA84 Foundation. p. 684. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
  19. ^ François Morinière, ed. (27 May 2009). "Santoro, record égalé" [Santoro, ties record]. L'Équipe. Paris, France: Éditions Philippe Amaury. 64 (20046): 12. ISSN 0153-1069. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  20. ^ "Deutsche Tennismeisterschaften". Hamburger Nachrichten (in German). 14 August 1930. p. 13 – via European Library.
  21. ^ "Boussus First in French Net". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, United States: Press Publishing Company. 51 (163): 26. 4 December 1934. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  22. ^ "Perry extended to beat Boussus". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, United States: Paul Block. 9 (263): 20. 1 June 1936. ISSN 1068-624X. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  23. ^ "Boussus rated at top; Regains First Place in French Tennis—Destremeau Second". The New York Times. New York, United States: Ochs-Sulzberger family. 17 December 1937. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  24. ^ "Moody, Perry Rated Tops By British Expert", Reading Eagle, 17 October 1935.
  25. ^ "China two down in Davis Cup". The Straits Times. Singapore, Straits Settlements: Straits Times Press (14): 3. 19 May 1939. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  26. ^ F. J. Perry (17 December 1934). "The quiet Boussus". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, Australia: John Fairfax and Sons (30251): 5. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  27. ^ Henry McLemore (14 March 1932). "Sports parade". Eugene Register-Guard. Eugene, United States: Alton F. Baker, Sr. 82 (74): 4. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  28. ^ Alexis Brézet, ed. (1 May 1936). "La mode rebondit aussi à Roland-Garros" [Fashion revives too at the Roland-Garros]. Le Figaro. Paris, France: Dassault Group. ISSN 0182-5852. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  29. ^ "Tennis Stars play in Auckland". Auckland Star. Auckland, New Zealand. 65 (280): 8. 26 November 1934. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  30. ^ Jeannine Mongin. "Mme Cellier Germaine" [Mrs. Germaine Cellier]. (in French). Versailles, France: Société Française des Parfumeurs (French Society of Parfume Makers). Retrieved 2012-09-15.
  31. ^ K. Kamillom (1 August 1937). Alexis Brézet, ed. "Si J'étais entraineur de l'équipe de France" [If I was the coach of the French team]. Le Figaro (in French). Paris, France: Dassault Group. ISSN 0182-5852. Retrieved 17 September 2012.

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