And the Crocodile was born
In 1923, nineteen-year-old René Lacoste arrived on American soil for the first time to compete in the Davis Cup inter-zone final. In the streets of Boston, a crocodile-skin suitcase caught his eye: "If I win, you buy me that suitcasat!" he said to his coach... On the courts, the French tennis hopeful excelled to such an extent that journalists, aware of the anecdote about the suitcase, gave him a nickname that would change his destiny: the "crocodile". After all, René Lacoste "never lets go of his prey". The young champion and his French sidekicks, covered with glory, didn't win, but for René Lacoste it was a revelation. He would undoubtedly return to the US.
Many summers. One idea.
René Lacoste's career took off, as did the opportunities he had to play tennis in the United States, in singles or as part of a team. René Lacoste recalls these summers in his book, Tennis: "... But what mattered most to me was summertime in the United States, preceded or followed by rest and relaxation with a cheerful youth on the great French liners between Le Havre and New York. The United States were symbolised by our stays in Boston, Philadelphia and New York, where the humid heat, sun-scorched afternoons and non-air-conditioned nights quickly allowed us to shed the 4 or 5 kilos needed following the 5 or 6 days we'd spent on the France, the Paris or the Ile-de-France".
It was this American heat that would inspire him to make his very first shirt. It was also during one of these crossings that he met someone who would change his life... forever.