The French Tennis Champion Max Decugis
(Francois Flameng)


This striking and unusual painting of a tennis game immediately captures the energy and intensity of the player at the net, Maxime “Max” Omer Mathieu Decugis or Décugis (1882-1978), who married the artist Flameng’s daughter Marie (whom he partnered in mixed doubles) in 1905. He held the French Open championship record of winning the tournament eight times (an exclusively French-only tournament before 1925) – in 1903, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912, 1913, and 1914 (also fourteen times in doubles, thirteen times consecutively, and seven times in mixed). In 2014 his French Open record was overturned by Rafal Nadal, who has now won the French Open eleven times. Decugis was also a four-time runner-up, having lost the final in 1902, 1906, 1920, and 1923. Decugis, aged just seventeen, won three Olympic medals at the 1900 Olympics (including the silver) in Paris and in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp obtained his only Olympic gold medal, in the mixed doubles, where he partnered French legend Suzanne Lenglen. He also represented France in the Davies cup, won by the French six out of the ten times he played on the team.


The outbreak of World War I denied Decugis the opportunity to defend his 1914 title. As a thirteen and fourteen year old he was the first French participant in the Wimbledon Junior championships, in 1896 and 1897. He had won the International German Championship in 1901 and 1902 and reached the semi-finals of both the 1911 and 1912 Wimbledon, playing again at Wimbledon in 1913, 1914, 1919, 1920, and for the last time in 1926;  in 1913 and 1914 he won the World Hard Court Championships. In May 1910 Decugis twice defeated Anthony Wilding, at Wiesbaden, first in the final of the Wiesbaden Cup, in four sets, followed by a victory in the final of the Wiesbaden Championship in three straight sets. He was ranked world number six in 1910 and number ten in both 1913 and 1914.

150 x 125 cm
oil on canvas

Racing Club de France, Paris; Private collection.

Where is It?
Private Collection
Historical Period
Realism to Impressionism - 1840-1900 & Modern - 1890-1930
Genre or Daily Life
Price band
Sold or not available