Coupe des Mousquetaires… The iconic men’s singles trophy at Roland Garros tells the story of the long complicity between tennis, the French Tennis Federation and one of the most precious jewellers on Place Vendôme.
The history of the Roland Garros tournament dates back to 1925, but the history of the jeweller who makes the trophy dates back to 1613.
Coupe des Mousquetaires : Roland Garros and the Mellerio firm
The Birth of Roland Garros
1925. The French Tennis Federation decides to open the French championships to the best foreign players. This was the birth of the French Internationals. But there was no stadium to match the event. In 1927, a stadium was built on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, which would host the competition every year. The stadium was named Roland Garros – a tribute to the aviation pioneer. In his image, the French Open on clay, now called the Roland Garros tournament, hopes to become a legend in its own right.
Until 1933, four French players won every title. Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and René Lacoste were literally at the top of the Roland Garros tournament. They were nicknamed the Four Musketeers.
Thus, when a new era began in the post-war period, the French Open became the first so-called ‘open’ Grand Slam tournament. In 1968, the Open era defined modern tennis. For the first time, all tennis players, professional and amateur, were allowed to participate in Grand Slam tournaments. At the same time, tennis became a popular sport.
Roland Garros now shines with an international aura – so it needed a trophy to match its reputation.
In 1981, the then president of the FFT, Philippe Chatrier, decided to offer an Olympic cup to this tournament played on clay. He then launched an appeal to Parisian jewellers…
The challenge? To shape the symbol of an all-round victory! And at 9 rue de la Paix you will find one of the oldest jewellers in the world. The only goldsmith able to transform a simple sheet of silver into a work of art.
La Coupe de Mouquetaires, A trophy signed by Mellerio Dits Meller
Mellerio dits Meller has been distilling its unparalleled know-how since 1613 – around pieces adored by Marie de Médicis, honoured by Marie-Antoinette… And on this day in 1981, Mellerio was able to respond marvellously to the TFF’s request.
Gilles Haumont, the company’s general manager, tells it best: “In 1981, Mellerio proposed to the French Tennis Federation a cup in the shape of a large bowl underlined by a vine leaf, decorated with two swan-shaped handles. A naturalist aesthetic dear to the company.
From then on, it was Mellerio and Mellerio alone who was entrusted with the creation of the Roland Garros cups. And in particular the mythical Coupe des Mousquetaires. The one that rewards the winner of the men’s singles. But this cup never leaves the stadium.
This is the special feature of the Coupe des Mousquetaires. When it is awarded to the winner of Roland Garros, from Yanick Noha to Björn Borg, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the Cup is lifted on the Central Court before being handed over in the stadium until the following year. The winner takes home a model.
A sort of relic forever linked to Roland Garros, it is the result of pure craftsmanship. It takes fifty hours of work to bring this 21-centimetre high solid silver cup into the world. The Coupe des Mousquetaires is so precious that Louis Vuitton was also entrusted with the production of the trophy case.
Handcrafted in the historic workshops of Asnières, it is this attachment to know-how, excellence and the influence of Paris and France in the world that links these houses to the Roland Garros tournament. All that remains is to find out who will leave on Sunday 5 June 2022 with this eminently iconic trophy!
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Louis Vuitton trophy case for Roland Garros
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