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© Collection Jean-Paul Bascoul

Since 1928, the Monte-Carlo Country Club has hosted one of the oldest tennis competitions in the world, the Monte-Carlo tournament, which has witnessed the achievements of legends including Björn Borg, Ivan Lendl and Rafael Nadal.

Built in 1893 on the cellars of the Hotel de Paris, the Principality’s first tennis club was called Lawn Tennis de Monte-Carlo. In 1897 it hosted the first Monte-Carlo tennis tournament, one of a very few men’s or women’s competitions to have international status at that time.

In the 1920s, the Principality’s tennis club moved to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin after a spell in La Condamine and then on the roof of a garage in Beausoleil. Due to a lack of space in the Principality, the Société des Bains de Mer acquired several hectares of land on the Franco–Monegasque border, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

The Monte-Carlo Country Club was officially opened by Prince Louis II of Monaco in 1928, in the presence of various royals, including King Gustaf V of Sweden, an avid tennis fan, the Duke of Connaught, Prince Nicholas of Greece, Grand Duchess Elena and Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich of Russia.

© DR
© Direction de la Communication / Manuel Vitali

Designed by the architect Letrosne in the art deco style, the new club had 20 courts (including the central court, now named the Rainier III Court, and the Court des Princes), a restaurant with capacity for 150 guests, and changing rooms equipped with individual lockers for up to 700 members.

According to one of the era’s great players, Teddy Tinling, it was “an ode to tennis”. It remains so today, thanks in particular to the exceptional setting overlooking the Mediterranean. Tennis players living in Monaco, including Björn Borg in the past and Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Tomáš Berdych today, visit the club to hit a few balls with their neighbours.

The ochre clay of the Monte-Carlo Country Club still hosts the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters Series, which has been won, among others, by Ilie Năstase, Björn Borg, Mats Wilander, and above all Rafael Nadal, who holds the competition record with 11 victories. This Masters 1000 remains one of the most popular tournaments among players and audiences alike. Over the years, many famous people have visited the club’s terraces, including Greta Garbo, Colette, Sacha Guitry, and even Winston Churchill.

Mélanie-Antoinette de Massy has been President of the MCCC since June 2020, following in the footsteps of her mother, Baroness Elizabeth-Ann de Massy, and grandmother, Princess Antoinette. She is also President of the Monegasque Tennis Federation.

© Direction de la Communication / Michael Alesi
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