August 1, 2021

the 2021 Lalanne Prize, a matter of noise

A flat batted ball does not sound like a cut or topspin ball. A first tennis ball slams, a cannon shot; a damper can hardly be heard, a breath of wind. Tennis is also a sport that can be heard. We knew that, but the jury of the 9e Denis-Lalanne prize, who hails the best article on Roland-Garros, this year was passionate about other noises: those that come out of the mouths of players.

Obituary: Denis Lalanne, a great feather in the service of tennis

For this edition of the prize as for others, it was a question of celebrating the memory of Denis Lalanne, one of the most beautiful feathers in the game, by crowning an article written on last year’s tournament (fall 2020, in l ‘species). Gathered for the 2021 French Open, the jurors, chaired by journalist Alain Duhamel, an unrepentant player, crowned an analysis entitled “They howl but do not tolerate any noise. Why ? “

Tennis concert

The author, the Swiss journalist Christian Despont, has listed the whole range of “squeals, moans, yelps”, groans and other howls that form the background sound of a tennis match today. Growing brutality of the game? Mimicry? Sound exhalation accompanying a better strike? Without a doubt. But Despont – head of sports for the Tamedia group and who thus pockets his second “Lalanne” – refuses to exclude other, less noble motives from this tennis concert: desire to re-motivate himself, to impress the opponent, to win him over. distract. Everything goes there and the enumeration would have delighted the readers of Lalanne, on a Monday morning in June in The team, the day after the final.

Guest of honor of the jury this year, the filmmaker Claude Lelouch was thinking of the soundtrack for a film on tennis. Member of the Jury, the new boss of the FFT, Gilles Moretton, proudly roamed a Roland Garros stadium more beautiful than ever. Organizer of the “Lalanne”, the art publisher Christophe Penot presented the prize to the winner: an original lithograph by the Spanish painter Franco Salas Borquez. It features a small yellow ball whirling around itself at the end of the cushioning. In the beauty of a “slice” made in silence.